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Podcast | Don’t Worry Humans, AI Is Just Here to Help (for Now)

Is artificial intelligence (AI) coming for your job? That’s the big question on everyone’s mind as tools like Chat GPT emerge and become more mainstream. But behind this fear lies the question you should actually be asking: How can this tool help me do my job better?

In this Go Beyond Fundraising podcast episode, we talk with two GivingDNA tech experts: Dawn Galasso, Vice President of Technology, and David Stanton, Vice President of Product. There’s a lot to unpack about AI, and we expect to have more conversations around this topic. But for now, we’re addressing some of the leading concerns fundraisers have about how AI could impact nonprofits. 


AI Isn’t New — What’s All the Fuss About? 

AI uses machines to replicate the cognitive functions of humans. It’s been around for decades, often working behind the scenes: Gmail finishing your sentences, Amazon recommending products you might like, and customer service chatbots answering simple questions.

These interactions have changed how people expect to communicate with all organizations. Our donors live in the real world, where companies use AI to interact with them more efficiently and effectively. So, it makes sense that donors expect the same from nonprofits. They want the right information on the right channel at the right time. Time and resources-strapped fundraisers can leverage AI to streamline time-consuming tasks to send more personalized communications to their donors.

Of course, AI is making news mainly because of the rapid advancement of ChatGPT, an AI-driven natural language processing tool. Essentially, it’s an AI chatbot that creates a humanlike conversation. You give it a prompt or ask a question, and it generates a response. ChatGPT can write articles, social media posts, emails, and computer code — it’s even passed several law school exams and a Stanford Medical School final.

Many organizations — nonprofit and for-profit alike — are grappling with how to use ChatGPT specifically and AI more broadly. For now, fundraisers should focus on the time-saving aspects and use it as a tool. 


AI Applications in Fundraising  

Nonprofits are already using AI in numerous ways, such as segmenting donors for appeals and distributing those appeals among different audiences. And with ChatGPT, capabilities are growing exponentially.

ChatGPT can write an appeal for a specific demographic with a simple prompt. Use additional prompts to change the tone — “make it more personal,” for instance — and then have it write appeals for every other demographic you’re targeting. By jump-starting the creative work, ChatGPT saves you tremendous time and effort. All you have to do is edit and tweak.

You can also use ChatGPT and similar tools to enhance your work. For instance, could you ask better questions to generate a more impactful appeal? Or ask it to analyze the results of your campaign and recommend tactics so it’s more effective.

AI can also help you identify donors that are upgrading, downgrading, holding steady, or lapsing. Building these segments is typically a time-consuming process that involves using pivot tables. Imagine being able to enter a few prompts and sending AI to work running a complex analysis of donors likely to upgrade. You’d no longer be limited to one or two of these queries. AI capabilities can run as many as you like with as many variables as possible.

This capability puts a data-driven strategy at your fingertips like never before. As a result, you can make the right pivot from a strategic standpoint at any time during the year. 


Precautions To Take  

Privacy is the number one concern for AI. ChatGPT is storing and learning from the information exchanged. There are serious concerns about how secure the data is. Some companies are working to solve this problem.

Tech giants like Apple and Google aren’t allowing employees to use AI like ChatGPT out of these fears. So, develop a plan for how your organization will use the tool and ensure your employees know what private information they can and cannot input. Also, regardless of the technology you choose, look at their privacy policies and security clearances.

In addition, it’s critical to understand the innate biases within some AI tools, especially ChatGPT. They’re only as good as their training data — i.e., other users' input information. What’s more, ChatGPT has been known to produce results that look and sound correct but are actually complete fiction. So, double-check everything these tools generate for you, especially when you’re asking it to produce something original. 


Need To Do More With Less? Consider AI 

AI will help nonprofits learn more about their donors and find better opportunities for them. And it will do so much faster and for much less money. With organizations expected to do more with fewer people, AI is a tool you can’t afford to skip.

It’s already part of our everyday lives. Your donors expect more customized interactions with you — AI is how you deliver them.

Listen to the full episode:

Connect with Dawn Galasso

Connect with David Stanton

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