Nonprofits and corporations don’t often overlap, but there is one topic that’s recently captured the attention of both groups—artificial intelligence. The most common question we get about AI is how platforms like ChatGPT differ from DonorSearch AI and if using one means organizations shouldn’t employ the other. The fact is, DonorSearch AI and other AI tools complement each other—combining them can kick your fundraising operations into overdrive.
On the corporate front, AI seems to be the only thing CEOs want to talk about. On the nonprofit side, an astonishing 89% of leaders believe AI has the power to make them more efficient, according to a report published by the AI in Advancement Advisory Council (AAAC). All of this discussion of emerging tech leads to important questions for nonprofits. Queries like “What tools will help us achieve better results?” and “How do we use AI safely and ethically?” are especially pertinent. As an industry leader in AI for nonprofits, DonorSearch is uniquely positioned to help your organization answer these questions.
Now, let’s turn to Laura MacDonald. Principal of Benefactor Group and a past chair of Giving USA, she writes for Forbes that AI will impact every nonprofit to some degree. “Artificial intelligence will influence every cause, the patients/clients/audience they serve, and donors. How nonprofits harness their power and how soon they get ahead of the latest developments may determine whether their cause can realize its vision for the betterment of all.”
MacDonald’s point is valid—AI is coming whether nonprofits are ready or not. Accordingly, the best course of action is to develop a good understanding of the tech and the opportunities it presents, along with pitfalls to avoid. The first step in your AI journey is knowing there are radically different forms of AI designed to accomplish various tasks, just as Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop differ and are intended for particular kinds of jobs.
Also, though multiple types of AI are available, we’ll focus on the two most important types for nonprofits. The first is generative AI, commonly referred to as large language model (LLM) AI. If you’ve been swept up in the ChatGPT craze, you’re familiar with generative AI already. ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms can accept questions or prompts and turn them into letters, articles, and all sorts of content. The downside? They can “hallucinate” by making up data. Other times they can produce inaccurate results due to poor sourcing—just like a Google search returning inaccurate info.
DonorSearch AI works on a different principle. Based on machine learning and custom algorithms, our tool is dedicated to crunching numbers and analyzing large amounts of data to provide donor engagement scores that grow ever more accurate over time. Because our AI system works on completely different principles than tools like ChatGPT, opportunities exist for nonprofits to get the best of both worlds by integrating them both into existing workflows.
DonorSearch AI is already easy to integrate into your organization’s workflows. Through no-hassle connectivity with multiple CRM platforms and other applications popular in the non-profit economy, our scores and supporting data can be brought into practically any software package. This becomes particularly advantageous as organizations start to use other AI platforms offering their own integrations. Why? Your team can accomplish more without tediously flipping back and forth between modalities.
More, when multiple forms of AI are used together, fundraising teams gain a massive productivity boost. Let’s consider an example of how this may work IRL. Imagine a private college is winding down for the holidays with only two fundraisers in the office as most of the team takes vacations.
Unfortunately, there is a burst pipe in the library, damaging the building and a popular student study lounge. The fundraising staff knows they have but a narrow window of time to contact their community for help making the repairs before classes resume. But the task seems insurmountable—how can they possibly get word out about the situation in time?
Luckily, they have a third team member on hand—AI.
One fundraiser goes to the library to take pictures of the damage and the cleanup efforts. Her teammate uses ChatGPT to draft an email to alumni explaining the incident and asking for support to pay for expedited repairs. When her colleague returns, she hands over the communication for human review and editing, and immediately switches gears by pulling up DonorSearch AI to build a list of community members with high engagement.
By the time the team has uploaded pictures of the damaged building and finalized their email, they have also fine-tuned a prospect list. With final approval, the fundraising letter is released, and the duo spends the next week with the phone ringing off the hook as concerned alumni call to pledge their support. What could have been a missed opportunity instead turns into a successful campaign—thanks to the combined power of multiple AI tools.
As Executive Vice President and Co-Owner Sarah TeDesco explains, “Just as DonorSearch AI is designed to integrate into your existing workflows and software tools, it also works well when integrated with other forms of AI. We help clients focus on achieving the best results while maintaining the highest standards of ethics and transparency when employing AI.”
To learn more about DonorSearch AI and how our tools can effectively combine with other forms of AI, contact DonorSearch for a demo today. And if you are an experienced non-profit professional interested in helping new nonprofits build for future successes, consider a career with DonorSearch.