Is AI Coming for My Fundraising Job?

June 20, 2024
5 min read
Full name
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

The prevalence of AI is in many ways astounding. From mere whispers of its potential three years ago to its presence in almost every app, feature, and technology. As AI has appeared more and more within our day-to-day lives, corporations and nonprofit organizations alike have adopted AI to increase efficiencies and reduce manual work.

According to a survey by, over half of nonprofits (58%) are now using AI for some daily operations.

As AI analyzes more data, creates better content, and sounds increasingly human, the niggling thoughts enter our mind.

- Am I needed?

- Is what I do something AI could do instead?

- Could AI connect with donors?

- Could AI fundraise better than I can?

- The answer is probably not what you want to hear: maybe.

It’s possible that AI will take over your role–if you let it. You have the choice, you can craft your career path, but how you go about it may surprise you.

What AI Can Do & What It Can’t

Before we get into whether AI is going to take over your job, let’s cover what AI is capable of and what’s beyond its reach. While AI can make workflows more efficient, it does have limitations.

AI Can: Draft email newsletters

AI Cannot: Send email newsletters to the right set of recipients

AI Can: Draft emails to donors

AI Cannot: Build and cultivate relationships with the donors who matter

AI Can: Provide suggestions and predictive insights

AI Cannot: Be truly creative

AI Can: Analyze vast quantities of data

AI Cannot: Replace human judgment in complex decision-making

Let’s take a look at how this plays out in real-life. Duolingo’s CEO, Luis von Ahn shared in a podcast interview that Duolingo did not renew some of the contracts with hourly employees because the contractors were asked to do very rote language tasks that computers were just as good at. In this instance, AI did take over the contractors work. This, however, isn’t the case for full time employees at Duolingo.

“What we're seeing [at Duolingo], at least for our full time employees, is not that we're able or even want to replace them. What we're seeing is just way more productivity, to the point where people are able to concentrate on higher level cognitive tasks rather than rote things,” shares von Ahn.

The same concept can be applied to nonprofit fundraising. If you focus on manual tasks within your role, then yes, AI may take over your job. It’s great at automating tasks and streamlining processes. It excels at sorting through vast quantities of data and identifying patterns.

But, it can’t build relationships. It can’t come up with truly ingenuitive ideas. And it can’t make decisions for your organization’s mission and direction.

The personal connections that are fundamental to nonprofit fundraising and major donor stewardship and the strategic initiatives that drive impact cannot be replaced by AI, only enhanced.

AI Won't Take Your Job, People Who Know How to Use AI Will

If your job involves emotional intelligence, creativity, and strategic decision-making, it’s unlikely that AI will take your job. However, employees who leverage AI might.

Stanford and MIT conducted a study on the productivity of over 5,000 customer support agents at a Fortune 500 company who used a generative AI-based conversational assistant. Access to the AI tool increased productivity by an average of 14%. For novice participants, productivity increased by 34%.

In another research study of Boston Consulting Group consultants, the consultants were divided into two groups: one with access to GPT-4 and the other group without access. The consultants with access to AI were significantly more productive, completing 12% more tasks, completing tasks 25% more quickly, and producing results of 40% higher quality.

Knowing how to use AI is currently a competitive edge–a tool to add to your resume, the likes of Blackbaud or Google Analytics. But eventually, it’ll be a must-have rather than a nice-to-have skill. Those who master AI and become more productive in their day-to-day work will be the ones that rise to the top.

AI Is Your Ally in Preventing Burnout

It’s no secret that nonprofit professionals suffer from burnout more than any other industry. Strapped for resources, strapped for time, fundraisers end up working long hours, bombarded by manual tasks that don’t move the needle.

Unsurprisingly, a Gartner analysis shows that more time working does not result in higher performance, just an exhausted individual.

Moreover, proactive, accessible rest contributes to a 26% increase in employee performance and a significant reduction in the number of employees experiencing burnout.

Instead of thinking of AI as competition, think of it as a helping hand. It’s your assistant that will take the tedious tasks off your plate and give more hours in the day that lead to productive, strategic thinking and quality relationship building.

AI may actually help you keep your job by preventing burnout.

AI, Your Fundraising Partner

So is AI coming for your job? It’s possible. But, if you’re a passionate individual with the desire to build relationships that push your organization’s impact forward, then AI will be the resource you’ve been searching for. AI will give you the breathing room you need to continue being successful in the nonprofit world.

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