Emerging technologies continue to steadily insert themselves into multiple aspects of our everyday lives. But, the futuristic world depicted in dozens of popular Hollywood films may seem—at times—more like a not-so-distant reality.
Of course, the idea of rogue anthropomorphic droids overthrowing national security codes and law and order as we know it would catapult even the staunchest futurists into a frenzy. But, the reality is that the current role of artificial intelligence (AI) in society is instead positioned to serve humanity for good, whether influencing humanitarian efforts or improving overall quality of life.
While the implantation of AI across multiple industries has justly caused concern regarding potential risks to labor and employment security, what’s critical for any business striving to maintain relevancy and growth is to remember this: How we work today will look much different than how we work tomorrow.
A handful of for-profit companies have already embraced AI software to alienate the constant disruption of business-as-usual, including Amazon, Walmart and Publix—all of which have adopted new AI to enhance delivery-to-the-curb options, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar services.
So, the one question that remains is this: How can associations and nonprofits maintain the pace of their for-profit counterparts by utilizing AI to their advantage?
There are a number ways AI can be utilized by NGO’s to optimize fundraising and member drives, including the three examples I’ve outlined below.
- Predict and create messages that will resonate. Targeting specific members who would be most likely to engage in or care about a specific cause enhances advocacy initiatives andincreases the success of membership drives tremendously. Known as “audience extension,” AI allows organizations the ability to analyze the quantitative characteristics of members who have shared interests by sending them personalized communications more likely to resonate. This approach can significantly improve the way organizations attract and deploy volunteers, understand why certain messages connect with specific regions or demographics, and ultimately create more effective advocacy campaigns to truly move the needle towards social change.
- Optimize how funds are managed and accurately spent.For many for-profit businesses, saving money is a bonus. But, for purpose-driven organizations, which traditionally operate under already existing budgetary constraints, saving money is essential. And knowing where not to spend it? Sometimes that’s more challenging. Some AI software systems allow organizations to hone in on the areas that deliver the greatest returns, while suggesting reinvestments in other areas that may have been over or under budgeted. Data such as this helps identify where the gaps are to prevent wasteful and ineffective spending, as well as target the geographical areas or regions most in need of monetary support.
- Identify trends to predict outcomes and the employee experience.What if associations had the ability to predict trends before they became trends? Predictive analytics allows associations—organizations that have often been labeled as “behind the times”—to do just that, using statistical modeling to analyze historical patterns and models to project future outcomes. The deployment of AI allows the technologies to spot relationships between variables that humans are simply incapable of seeing, such as identifying unsatisfied employees, top performers, and how employees spend their time to decrease turnover and increase job satisfaction.
- Maintain digital trends and expectations. Edison Research reports that nearly 40 percent of users expect answers to the questions they pose on social media platforms in less than one-hour’s time. For nonprofits and associations who operate under existing budgetary constraints, making every dollar count is critical—which also means keeping members and donors satisfied. These organizations often find it difficult to employ enough staff to maintain sizeable digital teams to monitor multiple social media platforms, let alone respond to every inquiry. However, AI can help through the use of a new software tool called “chat bots” that can be established to monitor every active social media platform. Chatbots can help keep members satisfied with quick and accurate responses that save associations and nonprofits two critical components: Time and money.
Rather than fear a future when AI controls the planet as a dominant species or entity, we should instead embrace how technological advancements have improved—and continue to improve—the human condition. And in the process, we advance the causes and missions we care about most to, hopefully, leave the world a much better place than the way we found it.
Jean-Paul (JP) Guilbault is CEO of Community Brands, a leading technology company that provides scalable and innovative software solutions to nearly 100,000 purpose-driven organizations worldwide.