Nonprofits and AI: Unifying Data So You’re Ready for What Comes Next
Organizations are building AI and data into their nonprofit CRM strategies to scale impact and better serve partners, donors, and clients. Here’s how it works.
Every nonprofit and grantmaker needs a data strategy. Tracking a few people, dollars, or ideas can be done in many ways, but nonprofits seeking to scale impact need a plan for all that data. This can feel daunting, right? Especially if your organization has been around for decades, or if you’re just beginning your digital transformation journey.
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of nonprofit leaders report digital transformation is a “need to have” or “must have,” but only 12% scored high in terms of digital maturity. And, 60% reported their donors expect a better experience than their current technology provides. And yet only 25% of nonprofits with high digital maturity are prioritizing expanded use of automation, including AI and advanced technologies, in the next year.
Let’s look at how AI along with data and a nonprofit CRM can help your nonprofit scale impact — and how the newest innovations in Nonprofit Cloud can help you get there.
How AI tools do the work for you
You can’t read a headline these days without AI being mentioned. And AI can help, but only if you have a plan for your data. Generative AI, when paired with your nonprofit CRM data, can help teams work more efficiently and create better stakeholder experiences. How many times have you cross-checked multiple spreadsheets to understand if someone has previously engaged in your programs and how? How long does it take you to research information on a prospect to make sure your donor conversations are personalized to that individual? And then how often are you able to do that at scale?
AI tools, when paired with your nonprofit CRM data, do that work for you. They scour information for you and compile it in a digestible way, so what previously could take you hours is at your fingertips in minutes. It can understand the repetitive, easy-to-answer questions your service providers answer daily and create an FAQ for you. It can draft compelling marketing materials that are personalized, relevant, and drive action. And it’s just a tool like any other — like spell check! You have the ultimate say; it’s just a place to get you started — faster.
All of a sudden, your data becomes more useful. You already collect massive amounts of data with every interaction, service provided, and dollar raised. But unlocking insights from that information can be difficult. AI fishes out knowledge from all that data that you can use. Because what’s the point of collecting data if you can’t use it?
But it means your data — whether that’s data on program participants, your donors and board members, or the marketing and engagement you’ve had with your networks — needs to be centralized. The efficiencies and personalized experiences are only as good as the data the AI pulls from — it has to “understand” your whole organization. Just as you want to understand each stakeholder as a full individual.
A single set of tools to meet your goals
In March we announced our newest innovation in Nonprofit Cloud that is reimagined to help teams unify their data to work beyond silos and better collaborate, share, learn from, and use their data. Nonprofit Cloud provides you with a single solution to begin or continue in your digital transformation journey so that you can start to make use of tools like AI and scale the way you deliver impact. Our first innovation that was released focused on building capacity in programs and case management.
Learn more about the new Nonprofit Cloud
The latest version allows your organization to bring fundraisers, programs teams, and outcomes together in place.
Kathy McCarthy, president and CEO of the nonprofit Pacific Clinics, shared how important innovation like this is for the sector: “At Pacific Clinics, we work with so many different stakeholders — our clients, funders, partners, and employees. Nonprofit Cloud is a game changer for nonprofits like us since it provides a single location for all of our stakeholders to see and work from the same information and make program and funding adjustments in real-time. With Salesforce, there is no need to wait for a formal quarterly or annual outcomes report to figure out, ‘oh this isn’t working,’ we can be agile, with the confidence our data is accurate. With the new innovations, Nonprofit Cloud will make it easier than ever for us to work across sectors, with all of our partners and stakeholders, to ensure our clients get the whole person care they deserve.”
We are continuing to innovate for all areas of your organization so that teams regardless of department can work from a single information source. On July 18, Nonprofit Cloud can be extended with fully integrated grantmaking capabilities, which will help nonprofits and grantmakers meet the following goals:
- Drive more effective impact and adjust investments with real-time outcomes data.
- Reduce reporting time spent for grantees and give funders a more holistic view of outcomes.
- Better understand the relationships behind grantmaking to create the best experiences.
- Become more efficient by increasing transparency and streamline processes.
Later this year, we will add more capabilities in Nonprofit Cloud to help fundraisers and marketers most effectively build relationships by providing more personalized experiences. And outcomes will be integrated into every feature of Nonprofit Cloud so it no longer becomes a second thought or “nice to have.” So fundraisers, marketers, and every member of your organization can:
- Cultivate authentic individual relationships, at scale.
- Scan key metrics to see which channels, campaigns, and messages are working.
- Automate tedious tasks and workflows that distract from more meaningful work.
- Strengthen affinity for our mission by connecting giving to impact.
Scale your reach with nonprofit CRM technology
It’s not just big companies that are able to take advantage of the newest innovation. Whether that’s using AI or a chat client or improving how you implement and measure your impact strategy, your nonprofit will be prepared. Our goal with the new Nonprofit Cloud is to help nonprofits better unify their information, answer the question of how to more sustainably achieve their impact goals, and be ready for whatever comes next.
“As nonprofits seek new opportunities to deliver impact, tools like AI can significantly scale their reach,” said Amit Patel, global nonprofit practice lead at Accenture. “Nonprofit Cloud provides a single set of tools to help organizations unlock the value of their data. Drawing on its technology and industry expertise and decades-long partnership with Salesforce, Accenture provided early input on the development of Nonprofit Cloud, and we’re poised to help our clients leverage the platform to more effectively and efficiently deliver on their missions.”
We believe we are on the right track, but we need your feedback and collaboration.
One way our community works together is through our Commons Community Sprints, which are in-person and virtual working sessions to discuss new challenges and existing projects. In one of our largest digital community sprints last month, people representing 14 countries worked together on mobile survey apps, events apps, KPI metrics and educational content written with the help of ChatGPT, to name a few. There’s even one happening at World Tour New York if you’re attending. Join the waitlist here, and join our Trailblazer community to learn about future Sprints.
“Sprints are unlike anything else in the Salesforce ecosystem,” said one Community Sprint survey respondent. “The opportunity to come together, dream and accomplish something real is amazingly unique and powerful.”
We appreciate your continued support and partnership on this journey to greater impact, please chat with us on the Trailblazer community for feedback.
Any unreleased services or features referenced in this or other posts or public statements are not currently available and may not be delivered on time or at all. Customers who purchase Salesforce applications should make their purchase decisions based upon features that are currently available. For more information please visit www.salesforce.com, or call 1-800-667-6389.