All posts by Aspire Research Group

Disruptive Philanthropy: A Guide to Donor Advised Funds

July 2022 | Tampa FL


Aspire Research Group LLC released Disruptive Philanthropy: A Guide to Donor Advised Funds written by Research Consultant, Elisa Shoenberger. This book was born out of a desire to examine both sides of the donor advised fund – the advantages and the disadvantages.

As one of the fastest growing areas of philanthropy in recent years, it is critical that organizations understand the legal structure of donor advised funds and that fundraisers position their organizations for successful donor acquisition and stewardship of this class of donors.

While Disruptive Philanthropy is not a definitive guide on these topics, it is meant to help you understand exactly what a donor advised fund is, how it is different from family foundations, and how your organization can succeed in stewarding these donors.

This 61-page e-book provides a holistic view of donor advised funds for fundraisers, whether you are a development officer or a prospect researcher. It explores what donor advised fund account holders look like as well as clearly outlining the benefits and disadvantages of donor advised funds. The report is broken up into seven chapters and two interviews including innovations in fundraising, how to be ready for donor advised funds, and ends with links and sources to help you access even more information on your own.

“Donor advised funds have been well-marketed to the general public and are clearly fulfilling donors’ needs. As fundraisers, we need to be better prepared to understand the motivations of donor advised fund account holders and manage these gifts in a legally compliant way,” indicates Aspire CEO, Jen Filla.

“Donor advised funds present such a big opportunity for nonprofits, if they know how to go about making connections,” says Shoenberger.

About the Author


Elisa Shoenberger is a Research Consultant at Aspire Research Group. She has over eight years of experience in the fundraising sector working as a prospect researcher at Loyola University Chicago and benchmarking analyst at Grenzebach Glier and Associates.

Elisa earned her MBA in marketing and operations management from Loyola, a MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and a BA in history from the University of Chicago.

She has written about philanthropy for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Inside Philanthropy,, the Daily Dot, Rewire (PBS affiliate), and others. She has also written for the Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Slate, and Business Insider. She writes regularly for Book Riot and Murder & Mayhem. In her spare time, she plays alto saxophone.

Off the Shelf: The Best of Aspire…and Beyond

Just in case you are not experiencing soaring temperatures outside, let me remind you that it is officially summertime. And that means you need a summer reading list. Allow me to indulge you with Aspire’s!

Off the Shelf and On the E-Reader

At Aspire, we’ve made a habit of writing FREE publications. Like a tourist drawn to a Florida golf course gator (Is it real? Let’s get closer!), we simply must satiate our curiosity on a variety of topics. If you benefit from it, too, we consider that a bonus.

  1. In Good Company: A Guide to Corporate Fundraising banks the #1 spot as the most downloaded publication at Aspire. No surprise really, because it benefits from author, Elisa Shoenberger’s journalist approach to the topic. And, of course, it highlights how prospect research can help you land the big gifts.
  2. Prospect Research Philanthropy and Wealth Report 2021 is like one of those smartphone apps that pick your best eye color or transforms you into a Disney princess. Each year we distill the insights from long, dry, complicated studies and make them short and dressed for action. This year we spotlighted Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Cryptocurrencies, just in case you needed even more glam to your philanthropy glow.
  3. Prospect Research Spotlight on Broadway Producers and Investors was born out of the love of the arts. Ask Elisa Shoenberger a question like, “Can you find Broadway producers who might fund our captioning?” and she just can’t let go! Dive deep into the world of funding Broadway shows.

Curious what other publications we have available? “Check out” the complete Publications Library today!

Google Analytics Says… BLOG!

The top blog posts at Aspire might surprise you, but then again, maybe not.

  1. Fidelity Charitable 2020 Giving Report: Inside Donor Advised Funds outranked our coverage of the 2021 Giving Report. We don’t take offense. When it’s good, it’s good, and the 2020 report coverage laid out the demographics of DAF giving and challenged you to take four steps to maximize your fundraising efforts with DAFs.
  2. Capgemini 2021 World Wealth Report is always a winner! How can you go wrong with global trends and asset allocation among HNWIs (high net worth individuals)? London took a nosedive off the top 10 cities list for Ultra-HNWIs in 2021. Egads, supercity! What kryptonite might land in 2022?
  3. Nonprofit KPIs: 5 Key Metrics to Track in 2021 is the first guest post to debut on our top blogs list. It’s written by Gerard Tonti, Senior Creative Developer at Salsa Labs. I bet you a Florida key lime pie that you won’t guess what the #1 KPI is on his list!

If this list leaves you wanting more, join our mailing list and get delicious research candy like this delivered to your inbox monthly. (Even your mother would approve of that dessert frequency!)

Righteous Randomness

  • Nothing gets more web hits than our Free Research Links Directory, and maybe that’s because everyone on the Aspire team uses it? Remember when you were a kid, and you went into a chocolate store for the first time? That’s what this web page is like. Fun little boxes with curated goodies you just. Want. To. Click.
  • Donors: Understanding The Future Of Individual Giving, written by Tim Sarrantonio of Neon One, is fresh off the presses. This is one-stop shopping at its best because he has synthesized and made sense of a long list of published research, each of which happens to be beautifully listed at the end. Best bit? It’s formatted for PDF reading. Bless you, Tim Sarrantonio!

If this reading list doesn’t get you in the mood for summer frolic, I can’t imagine what will. Because fundraising research was meant to be poolside, or beachside, or watching the kids run through the sprinkler-side, or even in the air conditioning with a mocktail. Anywhere you go to let your neurons roam free so you can return to work with new ideas and new perspectives.

Prospect Research Philanthropy and Wealth Report 2021

February 2022 | Tampa FL

Once again Aspire Research Group LLC has published its annual Prospect Research Philanthropy and Wealth Report, this time with a spotlight on two of the hottest topics in 2021: Cryptocurrencies and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

All year, Aspire’s research team stays current on philanthropy and wealth, including reading through long and cryptic reports compiled by enduring financial institutions such as Fidelity Charitable, Capgemini, Boston Consulting Group.

“We yawn so you don’t have to,” explains Aspire’s Founder and CEO, Jen Filla.

Sources and demographics of philanthropy and wealth are changing. For example, the report notes that London dropped off the list of Top 10 Cities by count of ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

“What we’ve learned is that there’s a lot of wealth and philanthropic opportunities out there, despite all the ups and downs of the past two years,” says Shoenberger.

Aspire has crafted a 20-page report that makes for easy and informative reading, containing just the right amount of information to stay current and make decisions as you cultivate and engage your major gift donor prospects.

About Aspire Research Group

Aspire Research Group LLC helps nonprofits leverage fundraising intelligence to change the world. With the right information, Aspire believes that nonprofit fundraising professionals can connect more deeply with donors, include more donors, and fulfill their missions.

Visit to learn more about Aspire and the report authors, Jen Filla and Elisa Shoenberger.

In Good Company: A Guide to Corporate Fundraising

March 2021 | Tampa FL | Aspire Research Group is pleased to present In Good Company: A Guide to Corporate Fundraising written by Research Consultant, Elisa Shoenberger. In Good Company was put together to help nonprofits learn more about different areas of US domestic company philanthropy, from direct company giving and matching gifts, all the way to sponsorships and corporate social responsibility.

While this is not a definitive guide on these topics, it’s meant to help you learn about new ways to think about your nonprofit in relation to companies and raise much needed funds. Each section will also provide information on how research helps fundraisers find and deepen those connections, regardless of the type of corporate giving.

This 68-page report provides a holistic view of corporate fundraising for fundraisers, whether you are a development officer or a prospect researcher. It explores the multi-faceted ways that companies give —whether it’s direct giving, foundation giving, matching gifts, or volunteering. The report is broken up into ten chapters including corporate giving and due diligence, and ends with links and sources to help fundraisers be able to do some corporate research on their own.

 “We wanted to help our fundraiser colleagues better understand the rich tapestry of corporate philanthropy,” indicates Aspire President, Jen Filla.

“Corporate fundraising presents such a big opportunity for nonprofits, if they know how to go about making connections,” says Shoenberger.

In addition to the above-mentioned, sections of resources include the following:

  • Sponsorships
  • Stewardship
  • Cause Marketing

About the Author

Elisa Shoenberger is a Research Consultant at Aspire Research Group. She has over eight years of experience in the fundraising sector working as a prospect researcher at Loyola University Chicago and benchmarking analyst at Grenzebach Glier and Associates.

Elisa earned her MBA in marketing and operations management from Loyola, a MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and a BA in history from the University of Chicago.

She has written about philanthropy for Association of Fundraising Professionals, Inside Philanthropy,, the Daily Dot, Rewire (PBS affiliate), and others. She has also written for the Boston Globe, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. She writes regularly for Book Riot, Loop North News, and Sixty Inches from Center. In her spare time, she plays alto saxophone.

3 Strategies to Improve Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

Guest post by CharityEngine

According to the Capgemini 2020 report1, wealth in North America grew by 11% in 2019. Then, when 2020 hit, COVID-19 took everyone by surprise. No one could’ve predicted the immense economic downturn that the virus brought about. In fact, according to the same report, global markets dropped by $18 trillion during the first quarter of the year as a result of coronavirus.

Nobody was exempt from the virus’s impact, including nonprofits. It’s made fundraising especially difficult as many supporters struggle to give during tough economic times. Not to mention, many nonprofits may feel awkward or out of touch when asking for funding when the economy is down.

That’s no reason to stop fundraising though! In fact, now is the perfect time for nonprofits to optimize fundraising strategies. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, to help your organization maximize its fundraising potential. Let’s dive into these top tips!

1. Develop New and Unique Ideas

When you craft or revitalize your fundraising strategy, it’s incredibly important that you fully engage supporters. Overall, this engagement will lead to a higher return on current fundraising and increased retention rates.

An engaging fundraiser will incorporate new and unique campaign ideas. During the age of COVID, this means experimenting with virtual fundraising events. CharityEngine’s virtual event guide2 provides examples of different engaging events you can employ during these tough times, including:

  • Music Nights
  • Cooking Nights
  • Virtual Galas
  • Toastmaster-Style Discussions
  • Online Training and Classes
  • Ask-Me-Anything Events

The only limit on your virtual event plan is your own creativity. If you’re new to virtual events, we recommend looking at the events others have conducted for inspiration. This can help with your planning process as you learn what aspects of the campaign will suit your audience.

2. Save on Payment Processing

Essentially, payment processing is everything that occurs between the time your supporter submits a gift online, and when that gift is deposited in your bank account. However, this is also when you’re liable to lose some of those donations to processing fees.

That’s why your organization needs to carefully select a donation processor. While most online donation software partners with a specific payment processor, there are some that offer their own. When you invest in a solution that offers its own, you don’t have to pay the donation software and processing fees separately, which helps save money3.

No matter what, security should be your number one priority4.

3. Use Data to Reach Donors

If you’ve ever received an email addressed “to whom it may concern,” you understand it’s easy to ignore those types of messages. The solution is leveraging donor data. Using donor data, you can deliver highly-personalized communications that are relevant to supporters’ interests.

With data, you can design a multi-channel fundraising strategy with messaging that resonates with supporters. According to CharityEngine’s multichannel fundraising guide5, this strategy helps “spread the word about [your nonprofit’s] fundraising campaign to a vast variety of people through the use of multiple communication and fundraising channels.”

Data in your CRM helps determine which channels to use, how to address supporters, the type of content that will interest supporters, the types of campaigns supporters may get involved with, and more. Creating donor segments and using them to reach different audiences within your donor database will help increase engagement and boost your fundraising.


  1. Capgemini 2020 Report: Wealth Grew in 2019 but Future Uncertain
  2. CharityEngine – Virtual Fundraising Events: A How-To Guide
  3. CharityEngine – Nonprofit Payment Processing: Understanding the Basics
  4. What Can You do About Data Security at your Nonprofit? Plenty!
  5. CharityEngine – Multi-Channel Fundraising: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know

Be Prepared! 3 Key Fundraising Resources for 2020

3 Key Fundraising Resources for 2020

Here at Aspire, September is all about: back to school (whatever that might look and feel like in your world); COVID-19, which continues to assault us around the globe; and the U.S. presidential election looming large in November. To keep up, we have created three resources this year. 

As fundraising prospect research professionals, summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing data is our core skillset. We’ve put those skills to work for you with the following three resources that we would like to share with you, too!

Prospect Research Resource Page

This collection of resources is designed with the fundraising professional in mind. Working like a syllabus for fundraising research in action, it now boasts nine topic sections, with A.I. and Machine Learning being the newest collection being built. You definitely want to bookmark this webpage: 

Whether you want to know about the latest in the world of corporate fundraising or need to understand cryptocurrencies better, you know have a comprehensive, curated collection of resources with one quick click of the mouse!

Fundraising Prospect Research Support in a Crisis

Organized around three of the most common fundraising questions being asked in the first few months of the crisis, this resource outlines how you can leverage prospect research to achieve the shifts you might make in your fundraising strategies as a result of the pandemic. 

It’s never too late to communicate with your donors. Prospect research can help keep you efficient and effective.

Prospect Research and Political Contribution Data

The U.S. presidential race is heating up and so is the political fundraising. As a matter of public record, political contributions indicate wealth, and are correlated with philanthropic giving. However, like most things that involve people and money, it’s never a simple matter! 

This resource demystifies the world of political giving and public record, as well as the ways in which it affects fundraising and research.

Need more help? Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consult!

Comprehensive List of Philanthropic Resources is Available

June 2020 | Tampa FL | The Aspire Research Group’s Prospect Research Page is a comprehensive list of resources that provide top news and insights in philanthropy. The Prospect Research page has information on specialized categories including Arts & Culture, Black Philanthropy, Covid-19, and Women’s Philanthropy.

Each section contains news sources, relevant news articles, subsections of content to help researchers and fundraisers stay informed on the topics. Aspire Research Group will continue updating the sections as new reports and information are released and found.

“We want to help our colleagues and clients stay informed about philanthropy,” indicates Jen Filla.

“There’s so much information out there that we wanted to digest it down into the hot topics of philanthropy,” says Shoenberger.

In addition to the above mentioned, sections of resources include the following:

  • Corporations and Foundations
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Science

Check it out here:

About the Authors

Jennifer J. Filla, president and founder of Aspire Research Group, leads a group of talented researchers from around the United States. She recently founded Prospect Research Institute, which offers the first-ever, rigorous online courses in prospect research in the industry. She is co-author with Helen Brown of the popular book, Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook, part of the Wiley/AFP Fund Development Series.

Jen is a member of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). She previously served as president of APRA-FL, and as past director of AFP-FL Suncoast, Habitat for Humanity of Delaware County, and The Center Foundation. She received a B.S. from Neumann University.

Read more about Jen.

Elisa Shoenberger is a researcher and writer in Chicago. She has over seven years of experience in the fundraising sector working as a prospect researcher at Loyola University Chicago and benchmarking analyst at Grenzebach Glier and Associates.

Elisa earned her MBA in marketing and operations management from Loyola, a MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and a BA in history from the University of Chicago.

She writes regularly for Book Riot, Loop News, and Sixty Inches from Center. She has written about philanthropy for Inside Philanthropy, the Daily Dot, and others. She has published with the Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Deadspin, Business Insider, and many others.

2017 BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Report

By Elizabeth Eck

“Unlike many older philanthropists, this globally connected and tech-savvy cohort is not content with just writing a charitable cheque. They see their skills, networks and for-profit investments as part of how they make an impact with philanthropy.”  -The Economist Intelligence Unit


Based on interviews conducted between November 2016 and January 2017 with affluent millennials and experts, the report assesses the shift in the approach to philanthropy by the next generation of affluent families, focusing on millennials engaged in family foundations. The report explores the millennial mindset, their investment tools and strategies, and the balance struck between family legacy and philanthropic innovation. The report defines millennials as those born between 1980 and 2000.

What are key findings from the article?

  • Millennials are taking the reins. Though the bulk of wealth and charitable giving remains in the hands of older generations at this point, millennials are increasingly being given the reins of family businesses and foundations and becoming the decision-makers.
  • Millennials believe in social entrepreneurship and are thus willing to support or invest in social enterprises and for-profit organizations, sometimes setting up their own. The sectors in which they invest include FinTech, EdTech, food/agriculture, and energy, and they are looking for sustainability – such as job creation and lifting individuals out of poverty. Meanwhile, traditional beneficiaries such as arts institutions are of less interest.
  • Social media has inspired a global perspective. Social media, online news publications, and ease of travel have led millennials to take a more global, dispersed approach to philanthropy. And there’s a sense of urgency to their giving – they want to tackle problems now.
  • Millennials are digitally social. Unlike previous generations, millennials like to use social media to announce the family foundation’s initiatives and achievements and to draw attention to their work. They are also open to collaborative approaches, often using social media to identify strategic partners.
  • Impact investing is interesting. While family foundations often invest endowments in conventional instruments such as stocks and bonds, millennials are increasingly interested in innovative financing tools and impact investing. Impact investments are those made to organizations and funds with the intention of generating social and environmental impact alongside financial return.
  • Millennials are unlikely to abandon traditional grant-making altogether. The report also notes that traditional grant-making and charitable giving is not expected to end as not all issues can be addressed through market-based solutions. Human trafficking and domestic abuse are cited as two examples. Moreover, social entrepreneurs require seed funding in early development.
  • Millennials view legacy more in terms of actions than institutions. As for the balance between family legacy and philanthropic innovation, in general, millennials are less concerned with the formalities of passing a legacy onto the next generation than their elders; however, they are instilling an appreciation for philanthropy in their own children. Rather than family legacy, they think in terms of a legacy of giving where there is less constraint and more incentive to turn ideals into action.

What can I do as a result?

  • Millennials care about being heard and being involved in good causes. Ask millennials for feedback. Even if the older generation is still the decision maker in a family foundation, engage the younger generation as they will be inheriting the reins before long. Ask for their feedback in terms of where they see the foundation going and what issues are important to them. Ask for feedback on how your institution might make improvements. Ask the millennials to volunteer for your organization.
  • Millennials want to tackle causes they care about – now. Learn to utilize all forms of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Establish your presence and contribute meaningful content that tells your story with a sense of urgency.
  • In social media, find and follow foundations tackling the issues in your field. Comment on their posts so they begin to become familiar with your name and organization.
  • Learn to use digital assessment tools to track your impact and then share that information. Again, you want to tell your story and your successes.
  • If you’re in a traditional non-profit organization that doesn’t fall within the realm of social or environmental work, don’t despair. Think in terms of what might appeal to a millennial. Many arts and educational institutions, for example, offer programs for underserved youth. Trumpet the work you’re doing with those populations. You may find the funders following you on social media.

Additional Resources


The World’s Uber Wealthy, at a Glance

“Philanthropic activity is now cited regularly as one of the main interests of the global ultra-wealthy population.”  -World Ultra Wealth Report 2018

What is this Report?

The World’s Uber Wealthy, at a GlanceAuthored by Wealth-X, a provider of global wealth intelligence, this report relies on 2017 data to analyze the ultra high net worth (UHNW) population and its share of global wealth. The report comments on the development of the ultra-wealthy segment and examines political and market drivers, regional trends, and wealth distribution. It further illuminates asset holdings, sources of wealth, and philanthropic interests. Wealth-X defines UNHW individuals as those with a net worth of $30MM or more, who represent 1.1% of the total world population.

What are key findings from the article?

  • The number of ultra-wealthy in 2017 grew by 12.9% to 255,810, with total wealth growing 16.3% to $31.5 trillion. It represents a distinct increase from 3.5% growth in 2016, and low market volatility is primarily credited. North America leads the ultra-wealthy at 35%, followed by Europe at 28% and Asia at 27%. The North American ultra-wealthy population grew by 9.5% to 90,440 individuals in 2017.
  • The United States leads the world’s ultra-wealthy, with a population of 79,595 and total wealth of $9.8 trillion.
  • The top ten UHNW cities are as follows: 1) Hong Kong; 2) New York; 3) Tokyo; 4) Los Angeles; 5) Paris; 6) London; 7) Chicago; 8) San Francisco; 9) Washington, DC; and 10) Osaka.
  • Among UHNW individuals, the fastest growing tier is billionaires, which increased to a record high of 2,754 individuals (1.1% of the UHNW population) and demonstrates a significant increase in extreme wealth creation, particularly in Asia.
  • For UHNW portfolios, liquid assets (primarily cash) accounted for the largest portion at 34.9% of the total, followed by holdings in privately owned companies at 32.2% and stock market listed equities at 26.3%. Holdings in real estate and other luxury assets was 6.6%, or about $8MM per individual.
  • As for the sources of wealth, 67.4% of UHNW individuals are self-made (entrepreneurs), with 21.7% a combination of self-made and inherited wealth, and 10.9% inherited wealth.
  • The proportion of women in the UHNW population has risen gradually with 34,944 individuals representing 13.7% of the global wealth. Traditionally, UHNW women have inherited their wealth; however, the number of self-made entrepreneurs is on the rise, with the U.S. being home to more than half this group.
  • Initiatives such as the Giving Pledge are spurring UHNW individuals to give back, and there is growing popularity of alternative giving vehicles, such as donor-advised funds and impact investing. Among charitable causes, education ranks top, with approximately one third of UHNW individuals donating to such causes. Education is followed by social services, healthcare, arts and cultural causes, children and youth, the environment and animals, and museums and libraries (in descending order).
  • Individuals gifting in excess of $5MM are generally found among the very top tiers of the UHNW wealth pyramid, and they hold substantial levels of liquidity. The U.S. is home to more than 75% of the major donor group, and their average net worth is $484MM. UHNW major donors tend to be an average of 6 years older than the global UHNW population, and a larger share of them have inherited wealth.

What can I do as a result?

How do I identify and connect with UNHW individuals?

  • Keep an eye out for major donors from the top 10 UHNW cities. In the U.S., look for New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
  • If you find a prospect with at least $8MM in real estate and other luxury items (yachts, airplanes, artwork, cars, etc.), that’s an indicator that you may be dealing with an UHNW individual, one who likely has high liquidity.
  • While you don’t want to ignore potential prospects in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere, the vast majority of major gift donors live in the United States, so focus your primary efforts there.
  • Since DAFs are attractive giving vehicles to UHNW individuals, begin to build relationships with wealth advisors. As you cultivate the advisors, they may be more likely to recommend your organization to their clients.
  • UHNW individuals have an affinity for philanthropy, so don’t be afraid to court them. Many feel motivated to give back to society, so do your homework.  Can you find an article in which an individual discusses her philanthropic priorities or perhaps how she rose to such great heights or overcame adversity? Was there a particular organization that facilitated her advancement? Then be creative in your approach. How might your mission align with her priorities?  Remember, these are individuals with great liquidity who may be ripe for cultivation.

Additional Resources

Artificial Intelligence is here. Are you ready?

By Elizabeth Eck

“Leaders marvel at the opportunity to scour huge amounts of data for connections that would otherwise go unnoticed. But the specter of unseen algorithms deciding who gets services and the fear of bias-tainted data make the technological future seem more menacing than transformational.” -Nicole Wallace

Artificial Intelligence is here. Are you ready?What is this article?

Using examples from a number of nonprofits, this article explores the promise and the peril of artificial intelligence (A.I.). From the automation of repetitive tasks to real-time analysis, A.I. offers great promise.  However, many worry about “data science done badly. Analysts don’t always understand the data they work with, know what they can build with it, or grasp its limits.” And while scalability is a feature of A.I., empathy is not.

What are key findings from the article?

  • The number of nonprofits using A.I. is “miniscule.” However, many are learning that A.I. identifies patterns at scale, so interest is on the rise.
  • Just as the benefit of identifying patterns at scale can be quite large, so can the harm. Citing criminal justice data as an example, the article cautions that combining flawed or biased data with advanced analytics could not only replicate but magnify discrimination.
  • Others caution that by automating decision-making, the nonprofit will “lose that empathetic touch.” The article mentions Florida’s Feeding Children Everywhere as an example of a nonprofit that decided the benefits outweigh the costs. The nonprofit lets people apply for temporary food assistance through a mobile app, with half automatically qualifying for assistance. Of those who don’t qualify, an employee reviews the application. Rather than hiring more employees to keep up with the growing number of applications, the organization realized that A.I. could help, thereby reducing the number of applications needing human review. As a result, Feeding Children Everywhere will be able to provide 200,000 more meals in 2019.
  • The article concludes by stating that while machines will never be able to empathize, “humans can’t scale.” If used properly, A.I. offers great potential.

What can I do as a result?

Focus on A.I. as an assistant, not a human replacement and begin to imagine how A.I. could help you in your fundraising role.

  • What repetitive tasks could be automated? How about reviewing the weekly gift list, figuring out which individuals to write to, and then drafting the thank you. What if an algorithm could find those donors and then draft a personalized, editable email for you?
  • What decisions could A.I. help with? What about the timing or target amount of an ask? Wouldn’t it be great to have more data science to complement the art behind the ask? The computer will never be the one to make the ask, that’s where humanity will come into play. But the computer can do a better job of informing the decision making process.
  • What other areas could A.I. help? Trip planning, moves management? Who will make the next major gift? The possibilities seem boundless.
  • Check out Gravyty or Salesforce’s Einstein Prediction Builder for A.I. tools geared toward fundraising. Cognitive computing has already arrived at your door.  Maybe it’s time to take a peek and stay informed!

Additional Resources