How Artificial Intelligence is bridging the gap for Nonprofit Digital Transformation

4 min read

Funding remains the biggest challenge for most nonprofit organizations. Sadly, during the pandemic, 83% of charitable organizations saw a decrease in revenue and contributions compared to the previous year. As a result, nonprofits also collectively experienced a 47% reduction in employment. 

As the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic spread, most NPOs were challenged to think outside the box. Many altered the types of services they offered and created campaigns focusing on Covid response programs. A few who never explored the digital space embraced social media, email, and virtual events, what we call Social Fundtech, for the first time. To boil it down, nearly 40% of nonprofit leaders admitted that adaptability was the most crucial trait for successful fundraising and survival in 2020 and beyond. 

Today’s top-performing nonprofit organizations collectively rely on digital transformation powered by artificial intelligence. NPOs that leverage technology to a fuller extent can cross the bridge from surviving to thriving in these most challenging times. While most charity marketers are already familiar with the benefits of being connected on social media, now is the time to dive deeper and explore how AI can improve their digital experience. 

How is AI changing the digital marketing game plan?

Way back in the 1950s, Alan Turing proposed to consider the question – 

‘Can machines think?’ In the 21st century, machines contemplate and solve problems as human minds do. They expand our capabilities and help charity marketers achieve impossible feats in the digital space.  

The concept of Artificial Intelligence isn’t totally novel anymore. Yet every time machines do human things, we bring those questions to Google. When marketers search how Artificial Intelligence is changing digital marketing, AI-based algorithms think for them and produce results. 

Search results for ‘How to use artificial intelligence in digital marketing have been growing exponentially (close to 1,95,000,000) for good reasons. Interestingly, these searches are not contributed by the for-profit sector alone. Whether it is using Twitter to provide prompt responses to donor queries or leveraging audio-sensor data to track the population of extinct animals – AI is influencing the nonprofit sector in various ways.   

AI copywriting tools

The concept of machines writing our content might make some people sweat. But it doesn’t have to suck. AI is not here to replace human capabilities. Copywriting tools are just what they are – tools (to assist individuals and scale at speed). 

Most of these AI copywriting tools rely on a language prediction model and format-specific prompts to produce outputs. But how does it give us tons of bang-on copy? AI content generators need human inputs in terms of keywords, outlines, and short briefs. These inputs can create multiple rough drafts of social posts, headlines, etc., at a lightning speed. It is quality input fed that results in the desired output. For instance, Hopeful’s intuitive dashboard provides hashtag recommendations to users based on the performance of the content posted and information fed into it by the users.  

Hopeful’s Storytelling AI feature for content creation

Digital marketers have lots to gain from AI copywriting tools. 

  • Nonprofits (and even businesses) produce tons of data every day, every week, every quarter. AI content generators reduce your weekly word count and help lighten the load. 
  • A writer’s block might hit you or anyone at any point. Stored social media content drafts can be insightful in providing you with an alternative angle to expand your thought process. 
  • If you and your team want to hit an ambitious deadline, these tools help speed up the writing process. 
  • Sometimes, you need to promote a repetitive story for an ongoing campaign. Artificial content tools can take over repetitive writing tasks by creating slight variations.


In a recent webinar, Beth Kanter talked about AI-based chatbots as a cost-effective solution for nonprofits and how they can help in donor retention. Chatbots have come a long way – most businesses are already referring to them as the next generation of AI assistants, offering versatile and agile conversational capabilities filled with meaning and personality. 

In many cases, it’s increasingly challenging to distinguish a bot from authentic human discourse. Thanks to the bots’ versatile and agile conversational capabilities, especially in the customer service context. Even in the nonprofit space, donors want to connect with bots if that means getting their queries answered quickly and issues addressed on time. 

The underlying technology behind chatbots reels back to the ‘Imitation Game’ devised by computer scientist Alan Turing to determine if machines had thinking capabilities. The basis for the Turing Test was whether a computer could outsmart a human into believing that they were chatting with a real person in a typed conversation. Even today, this test provides the basis for assessing whether chatbots are efficient or not. 

Commercially, chatbot developers strive to create codes to provide authentic communication experiences to improve customer service outcomes and maintain long-term relationships. Charity marketers can leverage a bot’s ability of sentiment tracking, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning – all very effective for donor retention. Hi-tech bots can now even recognize moods in their human counterparts. The bi-directional human-like communication can be optimized in various ways, such as storytelling through bots or facilitating donor contributions.  

The Trevor Project – Chatbot stimulating a teen experiencing a mental health crisis

The Trevor Project operates a suicide prevention hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. The program launched Riley – an AI tool in partnership with’s Fellowship program. Riley’s artificial intelligence is focused on accomplishing a unique goal: simulate what it’s like to talk to a young person in crisis. This way, volunteer counselors can become skilled at interacting with them. 

Credit: The Trevor Project

Predictive social media ads

Nonprofits like other businesses and brands have a lot of unstructured or semi-structured data that can be used for decision-making, building marketing strategies, and creating sustainable donation campaigns. Predictive analysis is one of the most buzzing terms for structuring raw data and deriving insights into donor information. In simple words, the approach of analyzing the donor database and tapping into past statistics can give NPO leaders valuable insights like donor behavior and giving patterns. 

Top-performing digital posts and paid ads on social platforms follow the same principle of the predictive model. While age-old advertisement methods rely on beta testing methodologies that take a lot of time and resources to develop, AI helps marketers streamline their advertising efforts quickly. Insights into big data analytics, marketing trends, and user preferences can help create optimized ad content. This allows marketers to directly put their point in front of the most targeted segments. 

At Hopeful, our machine learning models help nonprofits to get a breadth of donor information. Analytics pulled from the platform allows marketers to optimize social media post content and gain further insights into social media performance. This not only helps them optimize their social media strategy for organic campaigns but provides an excellent start to invest time and resources into paid campaigns. 

Over to you

AI has so much potential that it would be a crime to restrict it to specific areas of nonprofit operations alone. Routine life may not paint the dire picture of introducing and leveraging artificial intelligence in the nonprofit space. But the events of 2020 showed us digitally mature organizations show digital a better chance to navigate the crisis and be resilient towards the change that will drive growth. In this sense, AI can aid digital to amplify the impact that nonprofits are capable of driving. 

Tasneem Jariwala Content Writer at Hopeful Inc - contributing to Nonprofit's efforts of fundraising through advanced technologies. Poet, Fiction Writer, and curious about all things digital.

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