5 AI Tools for Nonprofits to Help You Scale Fundraising

AI tools for nonprofits can help you optimize fundraising. As organizations strive to maximize their impact with limited resources, AI tools for nonprofits offer innovative solutions to scale and optimize fundraising efforts. Here’s a look at five powerful AI tools that can transform how nonprofits engage with donors and manage their campaigns.

The work of nonprofits is constantly evolving, and the need to maximize impact with limited resources is ever-present. But what if there was a way to work smarter, not harder? Enter AI tools for nonprofits.

The mention of AI can sometimes evoke trepidation. But AI tools for nonprofits aren’t here to replace fundraisers’ work. On the contrary, AI in fundraising replaces the need for manual tasks like data entry and repetitive and generic outreach. This frees fundraisers to focus on developing strategic fundraising plans, cultivating relationships with donors, and crafting compelling stories that resonate.

How AI Tools for Nonprofits Can Create Efficiency

Your nonprofit CRM is the engine that drives your fundraising efforts. But if your software is negligent in following good data hygiene practices, it hampers your team’s ability to cultivate and steward donor relationships.

This protects the integrity of your data and sets any AI tool you use up for success. With clean data, your CRM system and AI can work together to automate routine tasks, from data entry and management to providing actionable insights from donor interactions.

With CRM automation, you reduce the administrative burden on staff, freeing them up to focus on more strategic and mission-focused tasks. Today’s modern nonprofit CRM software offers built-in AI features, like marketing automation or donor segmentation. But what packs a bigger punch is the more responsive CRM for nonprofits with flexible integration capabilities.

We believe in holistic data integration across platforms. After all, breaking down data silos is how we become more responsive nonprofits, further improving the way we respond to donor needs. Knowing that our nonprofits need access to this seamless data flow, Virtuous operates from an open API so that organizations can connect any of their tools to our CRM.

Our platform also includes dozens of native integrations, including AI-powered tools like DonorSearch, AskGenius, and Instrumentl.

5 AI Tools for Nonprofits to Help Scale and Optimize Fundraising

When nonprofits operate on slim margins, reaching new donors and maximizing impact can sometimes feel impossible. This rings especially true as we enter the phenomena of the attention economy: Multiple sources vying for your donors’ attention.

The growing competition means more personalization to catch donor eyes, but how can nonprofits manage with limited budgets?

AI for nonprofits innovative solutions to scale and optimize fundraising. Here are five powerful AI tools that can transform donor engagement and campaign management.

1. Marketing Automation

Fundraisers wear many hats—managing donors, crafting campaigns, and analyzing data for engagement trends. It’s a constant uphill battle to juggle these tasks manually, so they need all the support they can get.

With marketing automation for nonprofits, fundraisers can streamline these tasks, enabling more efficient use of their time and resources. Fundraising automation tools can handle routine communications, segment donor lists, and digest data into actionable insights, allowing fundraisers to focus more on strategy and less on the minutiae.

When fundraising automation is built into your nonprofit CRM, you have the tools to create, manage, and trigger automated workflows under one platform. This has made a world of difference for organizations like A Kid’s Place Tampa Bay.

“When we first started sending emails, we were at around a 15 -20% open rate. And now I believe we’re at around a 37% open rate. So, it showed us that our donors really wanted to hear from us. They wanted to hear stories,” Samantha Mellon, Director of Development of A Kid’s Place Tampa Bay.

Automation Workflow in Virtuous

Workflows are a series of steps automatically triggered based on a donor’s actions. A popular example of an automated workflow is a new donor welcome series. Let’s take a look at this automated donor journey in action:

  • Email #1: Thank the donor for their generosity.
  • Email #2: Give the donor more information about your mission and what their donation is supporting.
  • Email #3: Further engage donors in a non-financial way, such as inviting them to an upcoming event or encouraging them to sign up for your email newsletter.
  • Email #4: Make a softer ask, like sharing your mission on social media, starting a peer-to-peer fundraiser, or checking if their gift can be matched through their employer.
  • Email #5: Send the donor a survey so they can give you feedback on their experience so far.
  • Email #6: Thank them for their first month with your organization, summarize what they’ve learned and engaged with, and preview what they can expect in regular communications. Then, it’s time to move them into your ongoing donor journey workflow.

2. Donor Segmentation

Like you and me, donor inboxes overflow with emails, most of which aren’t even opened. How can you break through the noise and catch the attention of those who matter most? Get specific with your content by creating donor personas.

Personlized Donor Journey

With donor segmentation, you group donors based on behavioral characteristics, such as giving history, affinity areas, and engagement preferences. This lets you target the right people with messages that resonate, helping grow donor lifetime value.

“[Personas and segmentation] are sending the right message to the right person—how can I make this more interesting to the recipients? That tends to drive significantly higher engagement and also decreases fatigue,” Aidan Augustin, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Feathr, says in a webinar on responsive segmentation.

Virtuous offers the ability to create targeted donor personas through the segments. These segments can be as broad or specific as you’d like. For instance, donors who have given any amount in the last 12 months or major donors who have given $10,000+ in the last 12 months.

Once segments have been identified, donor segmentation can be applied by queries or filters, which can categorize donors based on certain criteria. Building on the previous example, imagine a nonprofit wants to send gala invitations to major donors who have contributed $10,000 or more in the past year, but only to those who live in Chicago.

To target this group accurately, the nonprofit would utilize the query or filter “donors who live in Chicago.” This hyper-granularity ensures only the right individuals receive the invitations, optimizing both the response rate and the resources used for the event.

Using segmentation tools from Virtuous, Lahai Health can now be more intentional about communications, moving from a one-to-all approach to a more responsive one.

“It used to be that everyone got all of the emails, and now we are getting more sophisticated with sorting who we are sending things to. If we are asking for a year-end gift, we can go in and take out anyone who recently gave a gift,” says David Eller, Executive Director of Lahai Health.

3. Predictive Analytics

Remember when fundraisers had to meticulously pore over donor files to manually spot trends and pull out actionable insights from vast amounts of data? Thankfully, there are tools out there that can help do the heavy lifting.

But AI tools for nonprofits have taken it a step beyond just drawing conclusions from existing data. Predictive analytics forecast future donor behaviors using historical data combined with advanced algorithms. This advancement aids fundraisers in several critical ways, like identifying high-net-worth donors, deepening connections with proactive outreach, and reactivating lapsed donors.

With the combined power of predictive analytics and knowledge from your nonprofit CRM, you can build lasting relationships with your donors through meaningful interactions that evolve past you just talking at the donor.

4. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

We see chatbots and virtual assistants more often in the consumer space. Go to your favorite brand’s website, and you’ll likely get a pop-up message in the lower right-hand corner that says something like, “How can I help you today?” Available 24/7, these chatbots handle common questions with friendly and informative answers, mimicking human interaction.

Nonprofits can use this same technology to answer FAQs, guide donors through the donation process, and provide instant support outside of regular office hours.

These AI tools for nonprofits don’t just improve the donor experience by offering immediate assistance; they can give staff more time to spend one-on-one time with donors.

5. Generative AI

Nonprofits struggle with limited resources and a need for personalized content. Generative AI offers a much-needed solution, helping nonprofits tailor messaging for fundraising campaigns at scale.

AI-powered tools like ChatGPT can streamline the content development process across every channel—from targeted email blasts and social media posts to website copy and impactful annual reports. These tools have grown to become useful collaborators, sparking fresh ideas and automating routine copywriting tasks.

Double Down on Responsive Fundraising Maturity

To help you become a more responsive nonprofit, we’ve adopted a maturity model framework, a step-by-step guide often used by organizations to benchmark their current level of maturity against industry best practices.

Responsive Maturity Model Framework
Responsive Maturity Model Framework

As you progress across each step, you’ll see more team effectiveness, increased average donor retention and gift size, decreased staff burnout, improved advocacy, and improved donor acquisition metrics.

Download The Responsive Maturity Model: 5 Building Blocks to Drive Increased Generosity to learn the five building blocks of responsive fundraising.

What you should do now

Below are three ways we can help you begin your journey to building more personalized fundraising with responsive technology.

See the Virtuous platform in action.  Schedule a call with our team for personalized answers and expert advice on transforming your nonprofit with donor management software.

Download our free Responsive Maturity Model and learn the 5 steps to more personalized donor experiences.

If you know another nonprofit pro who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via Email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.

The Responsive Maturity Model
5 Steps to More Personalized Donor Experiences
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Grow generosity with Virtuous.

Virtuous is the responsive fundraising software platform proven to help nonprofit organizations increase generosity by serving all donors personally, no matter their gift size.

“Virtuous truly understands nonprofits and the importance of our mission. And their open access to data and built-in custom reports gave us access to the data we need.”
Todd Shinabarger
Chief Information Officer