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A.I. vs. H.I. (Human Intelligence) in Fundraising

A.I. has a role in fundraising, especially when managing large datasets, segmenting donor lists, and researching potential major donors. It can also help you time appeals, follow up, and evaluate campaign results. Eerily, the day may come when it may draft your written appeals.

But, before you dive in, consider that, today, working with large datasets is its most cost-effective use.

HUMAN INTELLIGENCE: My money is on H.I. for fundraising and development functions. While mass appeals are important, most of your revenue will come from a small number of major gift donors. The 90 /10 rule is alive and well.

MAJOR DONORS ARE HUMAN: A.I. may help find important humans to pursue, but it takes H.I. to make personal connections, conduct discovery visits, listen to how people describe their philanthropic priorities, and explore how their needs may align with your organization. Reading between the lines requires advanced emotional intelligence, not software.

THE ASK: Selecting your ‘ask team members’ is an H.I. function, as is conducting “street research” to set ask amounts. And being in the room for a gift discussion – that can stray into uncharted territory – unquestionably requires human intelligence and feeling.

And you don’t want Hal saying thank you.

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