Change Management: Embrace AI’s Impact on Philanthropy

  • Published May 29, 2024

By Kerry Nenn

Advancements in AI are changing the landscape of technology. How can you embrace these changes to benefit your organization? Sarah Clough, Vice President of Philanthropy Insights and Analytics for Marts&Lundy offers six forward-thinking strategies:

  • Adopt a systematic approach. Establish a structured change framework that delineates phases of planning, execution and monitoring of the implementation of new technologies. Clough notes, “Your approach should detail strategies for addressing potential challenges and metrics for assessing progress, to ensure the effective integration of AI and to maximize return on investment.”
  • Leverage AI for enhanced donor engagement. Utilize artificial intelligence for advanced donor segmentation, predictive analytics and personalized engagement strategies. Ensure these tools are integrated with your existing systems to analyze donor data effectively, enabling you to customize communication and predict giving patterns with greater accuracy.
  • Address human resistance proactively. This happens through effective communication, stakeholder engagement and support for individuals affected by changes. This includes clear messaging on the reasons behind changes and the benefits expected. Clough adds, “Always involve stakeholders in the change process to ensure buy-in and commitment.”
  • Ensure data security and privacy. Adopt best practices such as data encryption, access controls and periodic security audits. Develop a clear data governance policy that outlines procedures for data handling and breach response to protect sensitive information and maintain donor trust.
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation. Encourage an organizational culture that values continuous learning and is open to innovation. Regularly assess the impact of AI and other technologies on fundraising and engagement. Stay informed about emerging AI advancements and best practices and be prepared to adapt strategies as necessary to remain at the forefront of technology integration within the philanthropic sector.
  • Balance technology and human touch. Clough explains, “While AI offers significant opportunities for improving fundraising strategies, it’s essential to maintain balance with the human aspect of philanthropy. While leveraging AI for efficiency and insights, emphasize the cultivation of personal relationships and a deep understanding of donor motivations, recognizing that technology is a tool to enhance, not replace, human interaction.”

Used with permission of John Wiley & Sons – Books, from Embrace AI’s Impact on Philanthropy, Kerry Nenn, VOLUME 32, NO.5, 2024; permission conveyed through Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.