Nonprofit fundraising comes with numerous challenges. It’s not easy to know what makes people more or less likely to donate at any given time. That’s why many nonprofit decision-makers have turned to artificial intelligence (AI) to run predictive analytics tools that unlock new insights.
Plan Outreach Methods
Nonprofit fundraising occurs in many forms, from gala events to people standing in high-traffic areas with donation buckets. Although some individuals find out about such efforts at random, many are already aware of and connected to respective organizations they appreciate. That might mean they’ve previously donated or at least signed up to a nonprofit’s email list.
People working at nonprofits should ideally create a database of individuals who’ve previously engaged with the organization and their preferred contact methods. However, one complication of that approach is that interested parties often agree to stay in touch with an organization in multiple ways.
Someone may indicate telephone calls, emails, and text messages as their preferences.
That’s a good start because it eliminates physical mail. However, nonprofit workers still must determine which of those methods to try.
Predictive analytics can calculate a wide range of factors associated with a massive batch of data. For example, which outreach methods previously proved most successful? How often has a given individual opened an email or text out of all sent during a year? Which demographic factors influence outreach success the most?
An AI tool could provide all the data to answer those questions and others. It can then recommend the most effective ways to connect with donors and keep them interested.
Identify Likely Donor Amounts
Small-dollar contributions are undoubtedly valuable to nonprofits. However, fundraising teams must also find the parties most likely to contribute the biggest amounts. That’s an important step in providing appropriate messaging.
Asking someone who has previously only given $20 one-off donations would likely feel overwhelmed by a request to sign up for a $50 monthly contribution. However, it’s much more appropriate to give someone the opportunity to donate four-figure amounts if they’ve previously done so.
One nonprofit in the U.S. created a scoring system to prioritize those best positioned to give large donations. It goes beyond a person’s giving capacity and financial situation to include factors such as whether the individual has ever volunteered for the organization or attended its events. Predictive analytics tools work well for this approach because they can easily handle large volumes of data and find patterns in it.
Sports coaches already know the value of taking such a segmented approach. Many use predictive analytics to find the best training methods for individual players. Applying the same technology to the nonprofit sector works similarly by enabling a personalized approach.
Employees waste one to two days weekly doing repetitive tasks. That’s particularly problematic for nonprofit organizations with small teams and heavy workloads. Some of the repetition comes from creating donor receipts or thank-you notes.
However, those duties become more enjoyable and easier to justify when nonprofit workers do them to wrap up successful fundraising campaigns. These efforts will most likely resonate with the public when individuals can easily see how a nonprofit’s service users benefit and understand more about its overall work.
Leaders at a Zambian charity that helps orphans used a data-driven dashboard to decide its future direction. One of the takeaways was that poverty is still a significant problem in the country. The executives made that issue a future focal point. Once leaders know what to prioritize, it’s time to craft fundraising content.
People at a nonprofit can use predictive analytics to determine the messaging most likely to get the desired responses from different groups. Someone deciding how a corporation will spread its charitable reach would appreciate in-depth case studies and bulleted takeaways about how far a donation goes and how an organization uses it.
However, everyday people who consider themselves concerned about a specific cause would probably better identify with more concise messages that position donating as an accessible activity. A statement like “Donating $50 a month can provide 12 people with a year of clean water” shows that donors can have major impacts without making huge contributions.
Predictive Analytics Support Nonprofits
AI and predictive analytics have improved many industries, allowing people to save time and enjoy a more confident decision-making process. Although these are some of the most common ways nonprofits currently use predictive analytics, the use cases will expand as technology advances.