AI, meet fundraising. Fundraising, meet AI.

Artificial intelligence has arrived.

Whether suggesting songs you’d like on your smart speaker or summoning your Tesla to pick you up at the curb, AI technology shapes modern, everyday life.

A popular type of AI known as machine learning can “teach” a computer how to analyze and solve problems independently using sophisticated formulas called algorithms.

This incredible technology is starting to transform fundraising by helping nonprofits leverage data to pinpoint the most likely potential donors—and predict what would inspire them to give. 

Sarah J Consulting recently collaborated with a company in this nascent space called MarketSmart, which uses machine learning to combine prospects’ self-reported data (through surveys) with their online engagement patterns and giving histories to generate an evidence-based giving prediction, including why, how, and how much they’d donate. We're super impressed with these capabilities!

This advanced approach to donor data analysis helps nonprofits figure out which prospects to focus on and which messages will resonate most with each person.

“Major gift offers must often do prospect research, qualification, prospect development, discovery calls, and then finally they get to an ask—maybe,” says Greg Warner, CEO of MarketSmart. “I want to automate everything leading up to when a prospect is ready to meet with the fundraiser for the ask. It’s all about qualification and prioritization to optimize a nonprofit’s staff expense.”

We love that technology is advancing frontline fundraising efforts and can't wait to see how this kind of approach continues to shape the field. 

Which emerging technologies are you excited about in philanthropy?

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