How to digitally transform your fundraising with AI giving tools to meet the donors of tomorrow
The new era of digital fundraising will be led by AI giving
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the ability of a digital computer or robot to perform tasks commonly associated with human beings, with emphasis on “human” since there is always a person for the AI to learn from. AI giving technologies are increasingly becoming a part of fundraising strategies for nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, offering countless benefits including cost savings, increased efficiency, more accurate predictions and quicker donations. In this blog post, we will explore these advantages as well as the current state of AI giving and its potential future impact on fundraising success. Let’s dive into how your organization can benefit from embracing AI-led donor engagement.
AI is already surrounding you every day through things like virtual chat systems, ads that target you online and marketing emails you see in your inbox. Each of these has been enhanced by AI that did the sorting and filtering of your data based on some human-inspired logic, but it did it hundreds of times faster than a human could. AI has made our lives easier and businesses better at serving our needs as consumers. The same is true in the fundraising world—AI giving
is a powerful tool that can help you prioritize and reach prospects, donors and constituents in a smarter, more targeted way.
How can AI giving help fundraising?
Most fundraisers only spend 30% of their time on activities that actually bring in gifts. A whopping 70% of their time is spent on low-impact background tasks! AI can save fundraisers precious time and resources by using algorithms to determine who to qualify, cultivate or steward and even what amounts of money to request.
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Your guide to AI fundraising
One-to-one human connections
We all have an overwhelming amount of emails, items on our to-do lists and databases of contacts to steward. In the modern era of data overload, it can be hard to sift through all of it to get to important relationship-building information.
What takes education and nonprofit fundraisers many keyboard clicks and significant time to review can be compiled and prioritized by computers in an instant, providing you opportunities to get more personally involved with your supporter network at a volume that simply wouldn’t be possible without AI.
Using AI in this way becomes a powerful one-to-one connection tool, ensuring that you don’t lose sight of important relationships while working to scale your fundraising program.
AI in nonprofit and education fundraising offers you the ability to get time back from administrative tasks while also developing deeper relationships with your donors. People like to be recognized, heard and remembered, and AI gives you the power and the time to be able to do just that.
Stay ahead of the curve
While you may be inclined to bide your time to implement AI into your fundraising efforts, it’s beneficial to your organization to not wait any longer to get started. A 2018 article from Harvard Business Review titled “Why Companies That Wait to Adopt AI May Never Catch Up” outlines key reasons to explore AI solutions now instead of waiting for it to mature even further:
- System development time—The longer you wait to implement AI, the longer it will take the system to learn from your data and achieve personalized, scalable results.
- Integration time—AI systems must be integrated into your organization’s tools and processes. Give yourself the wiggle room to weave in AI seamlessly by starting the process today.
- Human time—As discussed, humans play an important role when implementing AI into an organization. Build in time to train and onboard employees on the system.
- Governance time—While AI ultimately saves time and allows organizations to scale their outreach, it does require monitoring by subject matter experts to ensure it is working as expected.
Now that the business case for AI fundraising is clear, how can you start using it for your fundraising efforts?
The daily life of a fundraiser is spread over a number of different tasks. While all of the working time is valuable to the process of building relationships with donors, background tasks and office work tends to dominate roughly 70% of a fundraiser’s day (Gravyty research). These tasks include things like:
- Running reports
- Sorting lists
- Prioritizing donors
- Planning travel
- Writing emails
- Stewarding gifts
- Conducting further prospect research
This leaves just one third (30%) of the time to donor-facing activities like in-person meetings, phone conversions and person-to-person email exchanges, all of which are critical to building and nurturing that donor relationship to turn the average donor into a major donor. Over the course of a year, gift officers spend roughly 600 hours in revenue-driving engagements, compared to nearly 1,500 hours performing tasks that ultimately don’t build relationships with donors, inspire giving and drive revenue.
To increase the efficiency of fundraising teams, gift officers need to rethink how their time is being spent. AI can help you balance the scales and get more time with donors.
Putting donors first
While we all wish we had more hours in the day to do everything on our to-do list, it’s important to realistically prioritize fundraisers’ time to get the most out of their day when it comes to revenue and donor growth.
Where can you save time in the background tasks that take up 70% of the day? First, it’s important to see where fundraisers are spending the most of their time.
Once that is determined, you will be able to make strategic changes to how these tasks get done and give more time back to fundraisers to nurture those important relationships and secure more revenue. Ideally, the pie chart of background tasks and donor-facing activities will be a 40/60 split (40% background tasks, 60% donor-facing activities), doubling the time spent on donor-growing and revenue-generating activities.
3 ways AI can help you build strong relationships with your donors:
1. Proactively find stewardship and growth opportunities within your donor database. AI can comb through your donor database and identify patterns and insights that can help you uncover new stewardship and growth opportunities. With the help of AI, fundraising organizations can proactively engage with donors based on their interests, giving histories, birthdays and anniversaries, ultimately leading to stronger relationships and increased support.
2. Write personalized emails to the right person at the right time. AI can ensure you engage more people in a scalable way. With Raise from Gravyty, for example, get donor suggestions and key donor information delivered to your inbox each day, and receive AI-powered email drafts for donor outreach, personalized to increase impact.
3. Donor appreciation: AI can help you find ideas to thank your donors like never before. With AI fundraising tools, fundraisers can build stronger connections with their donors through timely, relevant outreach that goes beyond the ask. Use AI tools to quickly and easily thank every donor for every gift and strategically assign the best person on your team to thank each and every donor to show how much you value their support.
Making the most of your time with AI
As intimidating as AI may sound at first, it’s important to understand all of its time-saving benefits to your organization, opening up more time and energy for you to spend on donor-facing tasks. AI can be used to reduce the time you typically spend on administrative tasks like reviewing donor data, reprioritizing outreach, writing emails to prospects from scratch and copying correspondence back into the CRM.
AI helps you determine:
- Who to reach out to now
- Why you should reach out to them
- What you should say to them
Having AI do this background work has been proven to increase the number of donors a single fundraiser can manage by more than 400%. Fundraisers then use human intelligence to actually meet with those donors and perform the fundraising tasks that software just can’t replace.
Raise from Gravyty: Your force for AI-powered fundraising
AI gives you a better way to prioritize fundraisers’ time, not by limiting the number of donors in their portfolios, but by removing the background work that limits their bandwidth to personalize donor outreach at scale.
With the right data at the right time presented to the fundraisers, every communication can be personalized in a matter of minutes, giving you the tools to build stronger relationships with your donors.
Raise from Gravyty is the market-defining leader of AI for social good, focusing on fundraiser efficiency and donor data security. Raise from Gravyty’s patented AI technology automates the most time-consuming processes that get in the way of the important work fundraisers do to cultivate donor relationships.
By empowering fundraisers to quickly and reliably personalize outreach, Raise from Gravyty helps them build new relationships faster, steward and deepen existing relationships more efficiently, and grow giving revenue for your organization. Get a demo.