The Future of Fundraising: How to Achieve Your Fundraising Strategy Utopia

The future of fundraising offers many exciting new opportunities to update our fundraising processes, build better relationships with donors, and raise more money! Artificial intelligence will play a key role in this future, as will other technologies that support fundraising teams. 

This is the conclusion of our blog series on the future of fundraising and artificial intelligence for fundraising. Here’s a recap of the series so far, in case you missed it.

Part 1: A Guide to Process Mapping

  • To prepare for the future of fundraising, you need to understand the current state of your fundraising. 
  • Mapping your fundraising processes helps you better understand the current state and shows areas of improvement where future strategies and technology can fill the gaps. 
  • It also ensures you understand why your fundraising processes are what they are, so when you implement new tools, you aren’t losing the why behind your fundraising.

Part 2: Imagining Your Fundraising Utopia

  • When you understand your current state of fundraising, it’s much easier to imagine where you want to go in the future.
  • What is your ideal fundraising state? And what role does AI for fundraising play in that state?
  • Use your process maps to spot areas you want to improve in the future, where you can leverage tools like AI, and what new strategies you’ll need to add to your future fundraising.
  • AI is an emerging technology in the nonprofit sector, and it will be critical in the future of fundraising, so you need to include it in your vision for the future and be prepared.

Our topic today is how to take that work of understanding the current state of fundraising and imaging your fundraising utopia and use it to make the ideal state of fundraising a reality. As you’ve probably realized throughout this blog series, the future of fundraising isn’t as far away as you might think, and it’s time to prepare! 

Preparing for the future of fundraising and tools like fundraising AI is critical because when these tools are more widely adopted in the nonprofit sector – and it’s only a matter of time until they are – your nonprofit will have a leg up on the competition instead of rushing to catch up. Being prepared won’t only mean you’re ahead, it will mean you don’t make costly mistakes while you rush to implement these new tools and processes. 

Making big changes is hard, and implementing the tools, like fundraising AI, that you need to reach your ideal state of fundraising will require many big changes to technology and processes. These changes could come with high price tags, and they could make some of your fundraising team members feel uneasy. 

That’s why it’s important to prepare for the future of fundraising! It will be worth it when your fundraising team is empowered to build stronger donor relationships and raise more money than ever. And we think your donors will be pretty happy in the future of fundraising, too. 

Achieve Your Ideal State with AI for Fundraising

You need to have fundraising AI in your ideal state of fundraising for two reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, it’s going to make your fundraising better! Secondly, AI for fundraising will be a big part of the future of fundraising in the nonprofit sector. We know this because fundraising AI tools, like Wisely, are already here, and AI is a big focus right now in the for-profit sector. 

A 2021 PWC survey found that 86% of businesses across nine sectors were getting ready to make AI a mainstream technology. 

When something is a trend in the for-profit sector, it’s only a matter of time until nonprofits pick up that technology. When you are already prepared to include AI for fundraising in your future fundraising state, you will be a step ahead of competing nonprofits who haven’t considered it yet. 

Back to the first and most important reason, you will need fundraising AI in your future fundraising state. AI for fundraising will support your team, giving fundraisers better insights and saving time that can be used to prioritize donor outreach and fundraising strategy.

There are many ways that AI for fundraising, specifically Wisely fundraising software, can help your nonprofit achieve the ideal state of fundraising. 

  • Better predictions and data insights
    • Wisely’s fundraising AI can provide accurate predictions about a prospect’s next gift and save your fundraising team time spent on data analysis and reporting
  • Donor journeys prove to build strong relationships
    • Even with AI, fundraising will always be relationship-driven
    • Wisely has a donor lifecycle management strategy built right in to help fundraisers plan and prioritize donor outreach
  • Helps fundraisers prioritize outreach
    • Fundraising AI can tell fundraisers which of their prospects are likely to give next; this makes it easy for fundraisers who are juggling many tasks to prioritize their donor outreach
  • Catch at-risk donors before they lapse
    • We all know the fundraising adage that it’s cheaper to retain a donor than it is to acquire a new one, but it’s hard to spot lapsing donors before they’re gone
    • By analyzing patterns, fundraising AI can flag these at-risk donors before they lapse, and your fundraisers can re-engage before it’s too late

At Wisely, we know the power that AI for fundraising has to support your team and your nonprofit’s mission. If you’d like to learn more about how Wisely can help you achieve fundraising utopia, schedule a demo with us – we’d love to get to know you and your goals. 

Using Your Process Maps

In the first post of the series, we discussed process mapping, which is an important step in preparing for the future of fundraising. You can’t achieve your ideal state of fundraising without understanding your current state of fundraising, and process mapping helps you do that. 

Look at your process maps and highlight the areas you will improve in your ideal state of fundraising. This could be a process that a new tool like AI could improve or a gap that can be filled. 

Fundraising processes that are heavy on data analysis are where AI can save your fundraising team many hours of data work looking at exports and reports. Using your process maps makes it easier to envision how a new tool like AI for fundraising will fit into your fundraising processes.

When you highlight these opportunities in your process maps, you can see how to achieve your ideal state of fundraising. 

Search for the right tools and vendors

To achieve your ideal state of fundraising, you’ll  need new tools and the right vendors to provide them. Choosing the right vendor and the right tools to help your fundraising team achieve your goals is important. 

One example of a vendor who can help you achieve your ideal state of fundraising is Wisely! Wisely nonprofit management software provides AI predictions and fundraising portfolio management.

Tips for finding the right tools and vendors:

  • Consider going through an RFP process
    • Putting together an RFP will help you compare vendors on an even playing field, and the process will help your fundraising team define your objectives
  • Clearly define your needs and goals
  • Determine budget and timelines ahead of time
  • Ask the right questions to avoid ethical pitfalls, especially when it comes to AI and data collection

Investing in new tools and building new vendor relationships can be expensive and time-consuming. When looking for the right tools and vendors, you need to consider your budget and your timelines for implementation. It will help streamline the process when you set clear expectations about cost and timelines.  

Keep in mind that you should be creating your budget with the intention of growth. The right tools will fit your current budget and needs, but you’ll want something that can grow with your nonprofit. You don’t want to go through the process of implementing a new tool, just to repeat it again in a few years when you need something more. Choosing the wrong tool because it’s a lower cost can end up being more expensive in the long run. 

Change Management to Implement Your Ideal Fundraising State

Bringing about your ideal state of fundraising will probably include a lot of change, new processes and new tools. It’s natural for individuals and fundraising teams to resist change or move slowly. 

Following a change management strategy as you move towards your ideal fundraising state will help your fundraising team accept these changes and ensure they feel informed. Change management allows for your team’s input which keeps them involved, and you can collectively solve problems.

Change management also ensures that your implementation keeps moving ahead with clearly defined timelines and avoids delays. However, you might still hit some obstacles along the way.

Obstacles and challenges during your implementation don’t mean that your ideal state of fundraising was a “bad idea”! You need to keep in mind the efficiencies and opportunities that tools like AI for fundraising will create in your ideal state of fundraising. Change management will help you keep this perspective and see obstacles coming. This way, you can plan to solve these issues before they become a larger roadblock. 

As you move towards your ideal state of fundraising, remember that wherever you make significant changes like integrating fundraising AI, it doesn’t change why our fundraising processes exist. 

The goal of your fundraising processes should always be to build stronger donor relationships. Your processes should be based on the goal and not necessarily “this is how we’ve always done it,” and your new tools can sometimes fit your existing processes. 

Understanding this goal and ensuring it’s central in your ideal state of fundraising will help you achieve the ideal future fundraising state! 

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