AI Fundraising Tools: The Key To A Strong Nonprofit Strategy
As a nonprofit professional, you know how important it is to adapt to trends in the sector, whether they be new fundraising methods or cutting-edge technology. Doing so helps you design fundraising and engagement strategies that resonate with your supporters and drive results for your cause.
For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits began experimenting with virtual events and other fundraising techniques that fit the times. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) tools are on the rise, especially with the emergence of innovative tools like ChatGPT.
But AI is more than just a passing trend—it’s the new technological frontier, and it’s calling to all nonprofits that are seeking ways to deepen connections with supporters, prioritize efficiency, make data-driven decisions, and keep the bottom line in check.
In this primer, we’ll take a closer look at how AI tools are making a difference for nonprofits and what you can do to successfully embrace these new technologies in your own organization.
How AI Can Help You Fundraise More Effectively
You encounter AI technology in your daily life, whether you notice it or not. For example, you might get personalized recommendations for what to watch next on your favorite streaming service or ask Siri about the weather in your area.
All around us, computers that have the ability to “think” in a similar way to humans are making life easier. But how does AI make fundraising easier?
AI can help your nonprofit with fundraising tasks like:
- Donor research. Knowing who your donors are is imperative for effective fundraising. The right AI fundraising tool can bring together your organization’s data with high-quality datasets to give you a holistic view of your donor’s wealth, affinity for your cause, and propensity for giving. The best tools will go further, giving you specific predictions to act on as you reach out to your donors.
- Personalized outreach. Speaking of reaching out, more and more, donors are expecting a higher degree of personalization from the nonprofits they interact with. AI tools can provide you with specific insights that guide personalized outreach. AI can even assist you in timing your efforts so that your outreach turns into meaningful connections.
- Connecting with donors online. Identifying and acquiring donors is great, but for your fundraising success to be truly sustainable, your nonprofit has to focus on careful donor retention. Continual online connection can be especially effective, and you can use AI tools to manage your website, juggle social media profiles, and start meaningful dialogue with your supporters by creating highly-targeted content.
- Evaluating campaigns. One of the most important parts of fundraising is continually improving your campaigns. You can use AI to analyze campaign data, assess effectiveness and sentiment around your strategy, and identify improvements.
AI can also help streamline other aspects of your nonprofit’s operations, giving your team more time and headspace to focus on relationships with prospects and donors. For example, you can use AI to automate data collection, scheduling, and internal communications.
What to Look For in An AI Fundraising Tool
There are a variety of AI tools available for nonprofits to use, whether you’re looking for a generative AI model to help you brainstorm ideas for marketing your peer-to-peer campaign, a graphic design platform with AI image-generating capabilities, or a prospect research tool that will help you find prospects and donors that are willing and ready to give.
But with so many options available, you need to go into the shopping process with a clear checklist in mind to ensure your nonprofit is using the best tools. Make sure the AI tools you’re considering can:
- Access and analyze large amounts of data. While your nonprofit likely has plenty of its own data, you’ll want a tool that can access high-quality data from outside sources to identify larger-scale trends and patterns. Combined with your organization’s data, you’ll receive powerful insights about your supporters.
- Support deep segmentation. With the right AI tool, there’s no need to settle for traditional, surface-level segmentation. A tool that provides a holistic view of your prospects and donors will help you go deeper with your segmentation efforts, giving you personalized predictions about individuals that can guide your fundraising and relationship-building efforts.
- Regularly refresh insights. Ensure that you’re always working with the most timely and correct insights by using a tool that regularly refreshes and updates its findings.
- Integrate with your existing tools. To keep your operations smooth and efficient, all of your tech tools should be able to “talk” to each other. Look for AI tools that offer easy-to-implement integrations so that you can keep information flowing through your entire tech stack.
Another important thing to pay attention to when looking for an AI fundraising tool is the level of support the partner will provide you. You don’t want to partner with a company that will leave you high and dry when you have questions about your tool or need technical support. Look for providers that will be available to you every step of the way.
Using AI Fundraising Tools Responsibly
As you begin using AI fundraising tools at your nonprofit, it’s critical that you commit to using your tools responsibly. This will help you mitigate risk and maintain trust between your organization and your community.
According to DonorSearch, using AI tools responsibly means:
- Prioritizing privacy and security
- Ensuring any data used doesn’t perpetuate biases and discrimination
- Being transparent with your community about how you’re using AI
- Abiding by applicable laws and regulations
- Striving to maximize the positive impact AI has on your community
- Continuing to learn about AI best practices and adapt accordingly
Don’t let the risks of using AI at your nonprofit scare you away from embracing its benefits—instead, commit to responsible use. By using AI responsibly, you’ll be able to move the needle on your mission while saving your organization time, money, and other resources, all well maintaining a positive reputation in your community.
AI is here to stay, and to make your nonprofit stand out from the crowd and continue to see success, it’s important to embrace these new technologies and all of their fundraising potential. Use this quick guide to get started looking for the right AI fundraising tool for your organization, and remember to prioritize using AI responsibly.