Will AI replace fundraisers?

Jonathan Ben-Dor

CEO, Giving.Technology

Will AI replace fundraisers?

This is a question I've been asked a lot recently (particularly among my fundraiser colleagues). Certainly when you play with ChatGPT, the AI-robot that everyone's talking about, it sure seems that all of our jobs are at stake. But the first thing that you learn in your Introduction to Fundraising course is that fundraising is all about relationships - that people give to people. If that’s true, then where does the robot come in?

To me it seems that the fastest way that AI will start to impact fundraising is in content creation and engagement.

While it's true that people give to people, it's also true that most giving is responsive: people don't wake up wanting to give - they give when they're asked to give. But making the ask takes time and resources, and certainly for most non-profits, resources are limited.

In comes the robot. AI has been doing a great job for years in automating engagement. For example, platforms like GivingTech make it easy to automate an email to be sent to any donor who hasn't donated in 6 months, or who is celebrating a birthday.

But only in the last year or so has AI taken leaps in content creation - the updates that are so critical to donor engagement. Recently I’ve been playing with rytr.me, an AI robot that excels in the type of emotional, passionate writing that I think fundraising requires.

The more information that you provide about what you want to say, the more accurate the copy. But even when I just entered the simple instruction “Write me a brief newsletter updating my donors about the latest activities of Leket (leket.org)", I got some really impressive copy:

At Leket Israel, we are dedicated to collecting surplus food from farmers, manufacturers, and restaurants to feed the hungry. We are proud to report that through your support, we have been able to rescue over 40 million meals since our founding in 2003! Our team has been hard at work expanding our operations and bringing our services to more people in need. Last month alone we rescued over one million meals from farms and factories. Additionally, we have also been working with local restaurants to rescue an additional 400 thousand meals every week. We've also launched a new program at 25 schools in the Southern region of Israel providing lunch for over 5 thousand children every day.

Now, while I won't be firing my marketing director quite so soon, it shows us how easily a robot can put itself into our shoes, and do the work that only humans could do previously.