AI has only recently been introduced to the world and the full extent of the applications and benefits of the incredible technology are still unknown. The value of AI in the advancement space is beginning to emerge, and slowly but surely fundraising shops are testing this technology out on a micro level. Michael Reza and Brent Grinna got together to discuss their visions for the future of advancement with AI and the way it could transform how institutions connect with donors.
An AI + Advancement use case
Michael Reza, AVP at the University of Oregon was recently presented with a huge fundraising challenge: to build a strategic plan of support for the new Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, the first institution in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in Child Behavioral Health.
Michael has long been an innovator in the advancement industry, and recently joined a number of tech powerhouses in CASE District 8 to explore AI’s budding utility in advancement work. As a test case, Michael used ChatGPT to see how AI would organize the newly written case statement for the Ballmer Institute. He wanted to see what AI could add to their work (if anything), and how it would change the flow of their document.
How’d it go?
In Michael’s words, “I liked some of the nuance that ChatGPT created by reframing what we wrote in a different way. And it made [our case statement] a little bit better. So, we took that and we tweaked it again ourselves to make it what we needed to make it.”
This simple partnership with AI offered Michael and his team a different perspective and an improved work product. Intrigued by the power of ChatGPT to make such useful suggestions, Michael started to think about the other daily, rote tasks that could be automated or augmented by AI.
Our CEO and Founder Brent Grinna recently hosted Michael on the RAISE Podcast. Only half kidding, Brent asked Michael to “Wave a magic wand and sprinkle ChatGPT all over the advancement sector. What would it look like a year or two from now?”
Here’s his response:
The AI Advancement Wishlist
From the Ballmer Institute case statement/ChatGPT experience, Michael learned a few quick takeaways. AI has strong summarizing abilities, and is most helpful when provided with clear prompting. With this in mind, Michael rattled off a number of tasks on his (and every fundraiser’s) to-do list that could be automated by AI – and everyone would win.
1. Suggested language for cold outreach/intro emails
2. Suggested language for thank you emails
3. Suggested language for acknowledgement letters from university leadership
4. Synthesizing donor interests (social interactions, contact report keywords such as professor names, job titles, other philanthropic giving)
5. Suggesting solicitation angles based on these data points
In less than a minute, Michael pinpointed what is essentially, the “Advancement AI Wishlist.” After talking with many industry leaders about the topic of AI in Advancement over the last few months, this “wishlist” is right on trend with what other fundraisers are seeking.
In response to this, we have some excellent news. This wishlist aligns pretty perfectly with advancements that are right around the corner at EverTrue.
Predictive modeling and machine learning (AI) functions best when powered by strong data. And in the EverTrue platform, we have access to tons of data.
Stay tuned in the days ahead as we announce what’s next for EverTrue. Beginning this summer, we’re releasing AI-powered tools to help fundraising teams build and maintain strong relationships with so many more donors.
Listen to Brent and Michael’s full eight-minute TrueTalk episode on this topic below.