Being Practical About AI for Fundraisers and Marketers

Being Practical About AI for Fundraisers and Marketers

October 22, 2020
PV Bóccasam

As our world becomes increasingly digitized, many companies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to stay relevant as fundraising and marketing continue to evolve. 

Jim Manzi, a partner at Foundry.ai, speaks about how companies can utilize AI in a practical way. AI can be a huge asset to boost fundraising and create successful marketing strategies, so Manzi breaks down the basics.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

 

Brain map of what AI actually is

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AI sounds like a complex concept, and many businesses throw around the term without fully understanding what it is. Manzi explains that AI is “whatever is at the current frontier,” which means AI is simply the newest technology available.

Although this often invokes images of robots and cutting edge science, it’s much simpler than that. The AI basics for business are, as Manzi states, “data plus math . . . used to create statistical improvement.”

  • What is the Function of Artificial Intelligence?

The functionality of any technology is important when deciding how it can benefit your business. If you don’t know what the function of AI is, then you will be unable to implement it properly into your plans. 

In keeping with Manzi’s definition, the purpose of AI is simple, as it takes on a repeated decision process to help you receive accurate results. By outsourcing research tasks to AI, your company will have better data to work with.

  • Why Did Artificial Intelligence Become a Trend?

As industries continue to grow and evolve, finding ways to engage and cultivate your audience has proven crucial to a business’s success. As Manzi explained, “AI is simply technology that helps improve statistics.”

Why is this important? Before AI became the trend, collecting data had to be done on a daily basis by hand. This included reading articles, constant research, and deciphering news reports to strategize based on current events. 

Now, this information can be discovered quickly and more accurately. AI eliminates the amount of energy spent on research and reduces the error margin to create a precise strategy for audience reach.

Implementing AI in Fundraising and Donations

 

Graph of practical implementations of AI

 

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AI is a powerful tool when used in a practical way to expand your resources. The role of artificial intelligence in business intelligence creates a pairing that can accurately target audiences, as well as help you pinpoint your next move.

Setting realistic expectations will help your business realize the maximum amount of benefits. For example, Manzi uses automatic outreach trigger detection as a great place to start.

Being able to detect when something happens in the business world that will cause a positive reaction from your audience can have a huge impact. Instead of having a group of consultants searching the news to watch events unfold, AI can step in to determine these trigger points.

With this knowledge, it is easier to use your staff’s energy to plan and execute your next move correctly. AI can take things a step further by eliminating your need to manually search for the right potential prospects. AI is also helpful in identifying the correct messaging for your target audience.

While these applications may not be as flashy, this practical implementation of AI can make a huge difference in your fundraising tactics. 

Using this technology takes the guessing game away from reaching out to donors. It allows you to target your messaging to areas where you will see the most return on investment (ROI).

  • Donor Strategy and Artificial Intelligence

When working in fundraising, high levels of energy are constantly being spent on putting together the best donor strategy to raise money. This typically includes researching, cultivating prospects, and maintaining strong relationships with your current donors to avoid fatigue.

The key to a successful plan is analyzing data and using it correctly to benefit your company. Data, in terms of this industry, is more conceptual than a spreadsheet of numbers. Information needed for accurate donor strategy includes current events, lifestyle models, and wealth factors.

It’s no longer necessary to read the news and spend time on social media to identify what is happening in the lives of your prospects and current donors. AI can step in to make this process easier, quicker, and more accurate.

AI takes on these redundant searches and constantly collects data to help create accurate models. By implementing this technology, you can have a daily strategy that shows who to reach out to and what call to action to make.

  • Email Marketing and Fundraising

As a go-to method for fundraising, email marketing is one of the most used platforms for donor engagement. Manzi discusses the important components of email and demonstrates how practical implementation of AI can help.

To make the most of any email campaign, constant testing is needed. By changing variables and analyzing the results, it is possible to see what combinations of content result in the best response rate.

Rather than trying to do an entire overhaul with AI, try testing several factors to see what results in positive change. Manzi suggests testing the time of day emails are sent, as well as the length of the subject line. 

With AI, you can see exactly how these factors are affecting your campaigns. In return, you will be able to strategize and plan your emails efficiently. The job never stops, though. Using AI to constantly test your approach will contribute to successful fundraising.

Key Takeaways

AI is not an ominous thing from the future, but rather helpful technology that gets the job done faster. Embracing AI in a practical way can further your organization’s goals as you continue to target your audience more accurately.

Analyzing data and receiving quick results has never been easier. Instead of allotting employee energy to donor research, utilizing AI can free up time and deliver precise results.

Don’t stop testing. AI works best when you are constantly feeding it information, and examining the results. Once you find a strategy that works for you, move your AI focus to the next project. This encourages constant progress and maximizes the results you see with this technology.