Higher education institutions have been forced to evolve in response to the pandemic, and their fundraising teams have changed along with them. As we look forward to a new era of learning and solicitations, artificial intelligence is proving to be a useful asset for higher education fundraising.
Artificial intelligence for fundraising involves using data to make suggestions and predictions to optimize nonprofit fundraising efforts. This article will discuss how the higher institution fundraising landscape is changing and how fundraisers can use artificial intelligence strategies to stay ahead of the curve.
The Current State of Higher Education Fundraising
Given the organizational structure of higher education institutions, fundraising strategies can sometimes take time to evolve or pivot. But in the last couple of years, we’ve seen these institutions move quickly to implement new fundraising strategies and adopt tools that can help engage more donors.
Here are two trends that are currently prevalent in higher education fundraising:
1. Greater Adoption of Nonprofit Technology
Academic institutions have had to make rapid changes recently. University students have moved out of classrooms and online since the pandemic began. Professors have adapted curriculums, taught from their living rooms, and even administered exams virtually.
Not only have classes become virtual but so have all other aspects of university life. Today, we have Zoom club meetings, virtual freshman events, online graduation ceremonies. The college and university experience has moved online and this has called for better integration of technology in the way higher education institutions are run.
Higher education fundraising programs have moved online too, with alumni dinners swapped for virtual concerts and donor dinners turned into live-streamed events. As more universities look to technology to advance their programs and be more efficient, fundraisers in these institutions are getting the green light to adopt nonprofit tools to raise more money.
2. The Need Focus on Long-Term Fundraising strategies
Throughout the pandemic, higher education fundraisers focused on short-term fundraising goals to meet the immediate needs of students and the institutions. They sought means to support students in need and alleviate the financial, physical, and psychological stress that came with the pandemic.
As we begin to consider what the post-pandemic world looks like, fundraisers are turning their attention back to long-term fundraising goals, particularly how to position themselves for long-term stability. Long-term fundraising initiatives are an opportunity for higher education fundraisers to secure recurring donations, prioritize major gifts, and target donors in the middle of the fundraising funnel.
To achieve long-term stability and success, fundraisers in higher education institutions need to focus on donor cultivation. This process will involve having the right nonprofit tools for gathering donor insights, analyzing donor data, making predictions and better decisions, and finally, stewarding donors in the right directions.
Learn How Higher Education Fundraisers Are Making the Most of Data-Driven Technology
In this episode of Fundraising KIT’s Nonprofit Tech Talks, Huw Hallam, the Senior Data and Insights Analyst at the University of Oxford, discusses the potential benefits of technology to academic fundraising.
6 Ways Artificial Intelligence Supports Higher Education Fundraising Efforts
Artificial Intelligence solutions aren’t new to the education sector. A report by EDUCAUSE suggests that AI is being used in higher education institutions to preserve academic integrity (through plagiarism-detection software and proctoring applications), support student success, and assist in administrative tasks.
Although there’s still considerable room for growth in how institutions use AI-powered solutions to meet their goals, higher education fundraisers can lead the way by using nonprofit AI tools. Here are six ways that artificial intelligence can help you accelerate your higher education fundraising efforts:
1. Make Data-Driven Fundraising Decisions
Due to the pandemic, the demand for nonprofit services currently outweighs the donor’s ability to give, so fundraisers will need to be more strategic and considerate with their outreach, communications, and fundraising campaigns.
AI-powered nonprofit fundraising tools, like KIT, can help higher education fundraisers better understand their donors and be more strategic in their approach. KIT integrates with donor management software and analyzes donor data to identify trends and patterns that can nudge fundraisers in the right direction.
Fundraisers need all the help they can get to set goals, personalize their donor communication, plan campaigns and report on their progress. The predictions they can get from nonprofit artificial intelligence solutions, like KIT, can help them make the right decisions and improve their fundraising outcomes.
2. Personalize Fundraising Communications
Rising demand for nonprofit services also means that more donors are being solicited by several organizations at once. This occurrence could increase the likelihood of a supposed phenomenon called donor fatigue. To combat this, you need to ensure all fundraising communications and strategies are considerate of your donors’ time and efforts.
Knowing the best time and channel to ask for donations can increase your likelihood of getting positive responses from each fundraising appeal you send out. AI-powered fundraising tools, like KIT, can analyze past giving data, current trends, wealth indicators, and more to predict the best time for you to make an ask. In this way, artificial intelligence can help higher education fundraisers to be more considerate of donors.
3. Automate Fundraising Workflows and Tasks
Artificial Intelligence tools can automate tasks and help you stay on top of your growing to-do list, especially when purse strings are tight and staff is in short supply. Essentially it can help you simplify your tasks, making you a better higher education fundraiser.
Using AI-powered nonprofit tools, you can send the right amount of fundraising appeals at the right time and frequency, identify the best donors to contact, and track your outcomes automatically. You can use tools like Keela Automation to get repetitive and mundane tasks done while forging ahead towards fundraising success.
4. Track Audience Engagement
Amongst the many benefits of online fundraising is the opportunity to interact with your donors across multiple channels. You can connect with donors through social media, website, email communication, direct mail, or over the phone. And with the right nonprofit AI fundraising tool, you can easily track every engagement, touchpoint, and interaction.
By tracking your audience and donor engagement, you can better understand what to expect from each prospect, donor, or alumni you reach out to. Even more, you can be better at your job because you will have the data to support your work and boost your chances of success.
5. Streamline Your Institution’s Fundraising Efforts
Many universities face one issue: each department operates independently and struggles to share a fundraising strategy across the institution. And this can make it difficult to come across as a united front to donors.
Artificial intelligence tools can help you share data across departments so that when you make decisions about fundraising efforts and campaign strategy, you can work for the betterment of the entire school. Departments in your institution will be able to support each other’s efforts and streamline their operations.
6. Improve Student Outcomes
Artificial Intelligence tools can also help your school to improve student outcomes. Emerging tools like SEAtS can help institutions track students’ progress and identify when a student might need more assistance.
Based on test scores, classroom engagement, class attendance, tutorial attendance, and more, artificial intelligence tools can point out when a student may be struggling, highlight possible reasons for their situation and suggest ways to support the student.
If more students can get the support they need when they need it, they could go on to be successful graduates and alumni who may be more willing to contribute to their alma mater’s fundraising campaigns. Remember, the goal of fundraising for higher education institutions is to provide the best experience for students, and artificial intelligence can help you do that.
Raise More Money for Your Institution with Fundraising KIT
As you adopt online fundraising strategies, you need a tool that can help you make sense of your donor data. Fundraising KIT gives you access to trends, predictions, and recommendations so you can optimize your higher education fundraising efforts.
Stay Ahead of the Curve
Higher education fundraisers are making progress with their adoption of technology and implementation of forward-thinking fundraising strategies. But there’s more work that needs to be done and you can spearhead that change by taking time to learn how artificial intelligence can help your institution.
Talk to a fundraising expert today and learn more about how you can join other nonprofit organizations in increasing your annual fundraising revenue by over 46% in just one year!