Learn more about analytics and research best practices, as well as real world examples and solutions for nonprofits.


Mar 12, 2023

Choose A1OI Rather than AI

Seems like everyone is talking about how ChatboxGPT (and AI in general) are going to transform the world. As Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said, “AI is probably the most important thing humanity has ever worked on. I think of it as something more profound than electricity or fire.”

Holy guacamole. I wouldn’t go that far. I’m not sure it will even disrupt fundraising.

I know. I’ve been called the “Andy Rooney” of fundraising because I tend to be wary of innovation. And, I’m OK with that label. Remember these “innovations” that were going to disrupt fundraising?

  • 1996: The prediction that all direct mail communications will be “one-to-one”. Remember that one? Every donor would receive an appeal unique to them. Here we are a generation later, and it turns out, the one-to-one future was never economically viable.
  • 1999: The prediction that internet will replace direct mail communications. There is a whole industry built on the myth of direct mail’s imminent death. Again, here we are more than 20-year later, and direct mail is still the work horse of the industry still delivering solid results.
  • 2001: The prediction that nonprofit organizations will stop using agencies and do all their fundraising activities in-house. The thinking then was, that as the personal computer democratized the tools of fundraising, agencies no longer be needed. That didn’t pan out either. Turns out knowing how to use the tools is as important as having the tools.

My thought is that nonprofit organizations can achieve a lot more optimizing “OI” (Organic Intelligence) before having to invest in the bleeding edge of AI. And, I humbly suggest that investing in using Analytical Ones Organic Intelligence (A1OI) will generate much more ROI than investing in AI.

Here’s the link to a NY Times editorial on AI that was published on March 12, 2023.

Or, if you want to see John Oliver’s recent program on AI, click here.

Bill is a Fundraising Economist who has over 25-years of experience studying the economics of donor behavior. The company he founded, Analytical Ones LLC, has developed the tools to help nonprofit organizations know more about their donors’ behavior.

In these challenging times, having Bill and his team on your side is critical so you can leverage your donor insights into actions that maximize your fundraising performance.

It’s time to know more.

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