AppealAI: Generative AI Makes More Effective Fundraising Appeals

March 27, 2023
5 minutes

As any nonprofiteer knows, writing fundraising appeals feels like 90% of the job. (Why does it never end?!) Whether you’re a marketing team writing fundraising appeal emails or a development manager writing personalized donation appeals to top donors, crafting fundraising content is repetitive and still manages to be challenging everrrrryyy. single.time.

But there’s no getting away from it; increasing digital channels and ways to reach every broadening audiences means that nonprofits need increasingly innovative ways to cut through the noise and make their appeals more effective.

To address this challenge and turn it into an opportunity for nonprofit growth, Funraise is proud to announce the launch of AppealAI. This impact-boosting feature continues Funraise’s commitment to innovation in nonprofit technology by giving nonprofits access to generative AI directly in Funraise’s platform, allowing them to create more effective fundraising appeals, more efficiently.

As a technology company, our take on AI is that it’s about time this long-standing technology was made accessible to folks outside the tech bubble; 🎉 it’s celebration time!! 🎉 As nonprofit people, our instinct is that this a moment to lean into, and with smart partners like Funraise, nonprofiteers are going to be fiercer than ever when it comes to making our world better every day.

What is AppealAI?

AppealAI is a powerful tool that supports nonprofits in generating more effective fundraising appeals, more quickly. When the Funraise user inputs pre-programmed prompts, AppealAI generates compelling and informative fundraising appeals that resonate with potential donors. And looking ahead, AppealAI has the potential for many applications within the Funraise platform, including crafting SMS messages, email appeals, or fundraising campaign site content.

The first application for AppealAI is generating peer-to-peer fundraisers’ appeal text based on a specific campaign. Peer-to-peer fundraisers’ individual fundraising pages are a highly visible asset for nonprofit organizations, seen by a tremendous amount of potential donors… so focusing our initial AppealAI efforts on peer-to-peer fundraising appeal text is intentional.

Under the hood, AppealAI is leveraging OpenAI and the same Large Language Model that powers ChatGPT.

Why AppealAI?

Oh, this one is simple. (And yet, we can talk about it for daaaayssss…) More effective fundraising appeals mean better communication with donors, which leads to higher engagement, and ultimately more donations. And you know what that means: World Changing Impact.

Additionally, AppealAI allows fundraisers to spend less time writing content, which means more time to actually build relationships with your donors.

Funraise’s mission has always been to make fundraisers' jobs easier and help them raise more through innovative technology. With the launch of AppealAI, we’re proud to continue providing the innovative fundraising tools you love and enabling faster nonprofit revenue growth (3x faster online revenue growth compared to industry benchmarks!) Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are a gamechanger for nonprofit fundraising, and we’re excited to see the positive impact on organizations' ability to raise funds and make a difference in their communities.

More questions (and answers) about AI and nonprofits

It's natural to wonder how technology affects nonprofits, so, to answer all your burning questions about this on-fire technology, we gathered the principal contributors to this first iteration of Funraise's AppealAI feature: Jason Swenski, Funraise CTO, Tony Sasso, Funraise CPO, and ChatGPT, AI content contributor.

How does AI help nonprofit fundraising?

AI has applications for all industries and job functions in ways that are both hidden and highlighted. For example, AI can be used to make predictions based on large amounts of data, which can help business and organizations better use their resources. Like this: AI might be used to predict a slump in sales over the next year and provide insight to the business about how they can reduce the chances of that slump.

In the same way, AI has huge implications for nonprofit fundraising. We’re talking predicting the best time to ask a donor for a donation, the best donation amount to ask, or the best appeal message for a particular campaign. When used to complement an organization’s fundraising strategy, AI has massive potential to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of every nonprofit fundraiser.

Is this just more tech gobbledygook like crypto or NFTs?

No, generative AI is very different. First, crypto isn’t all gobbledygook or fictional (talk to nonprofits that have received bitcoin!), and AI isn’t new …and it’s not going anywhere.

It’s also nothing to be afraid of; in fact, AI technology is already involved in nearly any digital tool you interact with today—which should make you feel more comfortable, not fearful.

Generative AI, which can create images and text content, has recently been in the spotlight because of major advances in functionality. All types of industries have moved quickly to implement solutions that use generative AI in increasingly creative ways, and nonprofits should do the same to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.

How else does Funraise use AI?

While AppealAI is (arguably) our most exciting AI product so far, Funraise uses AI to improve the donors’ giving experience and your donation conversion. We use a machine learning model to predict a donor’s gift amount based on environmental and personal attributes and use that prediction to show a relevant ask string on the donation form. We also use machine learning to predict fraudulent charges and use this information to block potential fraudsters. (Get lost, fraudsters!)

Am I going to lose my job to a robot?

No. The most important part of fundraising is relationship building, an inherently human skill that requires intuition and creativity—things that fundraisers bring to the table every (damn) day.

AppealAI takeaways

  • AppealAI isn’t Funraise’s first or only tool that utilizes artificial intelligence—and it certainly won’t be the last! Embracing AI means celebrating expanded ways to approach appeals and asks
  • AI is being used in this context to make nonprofiteers’ jobs (and lives!) easier, your efforts more effective, and consequently, your impact greater.
  • No, your job isn’t in jeopardy. It’s in no one’s interest to squeeze the human out of this human-powered and human-focused industry. Funraise sees AI as a way to help you do your job better, faster, and easier.
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