Artificial Intelligence And the Non-Profit Sector: How Technology Is Changing The Outreach Game

How AI technology is helping non-profit marketers create more compelling, relevant online content

15May

For years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been tech industry buzzwords. The two terms are used to describe a computer’s ability to replicate human function and intelligence. Yet, in recent months, the application of AI technology has taken a significant, progressive term as developers begin to harness the tomes of Big Data into actionable and analyzable patterns and trends used to predict, and ultimately mirror, human behavior.

The advantages and applications of AI and machine learning are far-reaching and span myriad industries and entire sectors. Some of the most commonly associated niches include healthcare and retail, where early adopters have been quick to implement AI-driven applications into their programming. To understand the latter, one only has to visit a “smart” dressing room, where you can “try on” articles of clothing in front of a specially-designed mirror to see how they look in varying lights, environments, and angles. Other uses include automated advisors in the financial field, smart cropping systems in agriculture, and distance learning tools in education. While innovative, applications such as these are only touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what AI can do and how it can change the lives of others.

There’s a reason that though it’s such a mechanical function, the technology continues to fascinate populations around the globe: For all of its robotics, AI is designed to build personal brand relationships most of all. The crux of its purpose is to help companies interact on a deeper level with their target audience, fulfilling functions and roles that a human workforce simply couldn’t keep pace with. Thus, it comes as no surprise that in a recent study, 96% of respondents expressed that they feel closest to brands that offer personalized services. Yet, only 45% of them agreed that marketers knew how to effectively provide that custom approach.

Enter, artificial intelligence. With its ability to help companies target shopper behaviors and align their offerings directly to their tastes, it’s emerged as a direct marketing and engagement mainstay. It’s easy to see why sales-oriented businesses would favor such an approach, but what do non-profit organizations have to gain? Let’s discuss.

AI Advertising Campaigns Boost Non-Profit Awareness

While non-profits may not be as focused on driving sales, there’s always the constant concern about increasing awareness and rallying community support. To this end, AI technology can prove invaluable. One way is by helping these organizations better cater their content to their online social media followers. Research reveals that 89% of charities and non-profits use Twitter and 71% agree that social media is a useful tool through which to solicit donations.

Yet, it’s important to craft these messages precisely, to attract the most interested followers of the non-profit. As such, AI intelligence can be used to develop advertising algorithms that align social media posts to followers’ specific giving interests. This way, organizations can ensure they’re not spamming their audience but are delivering pointed and relevant content that fits into their overall focus. This approach also helps marketers cut costs on ineffective, blanket marketing approaches and save time overall.

Making the Non-Profit Website Experience More Interactive

Along the same lines as catering social media posts, AI analytics also enable developers in the non-profit sphere to create customized website interfaces that discern visitor behavior and offer myriad options to him or her throughout the process. For instance, if a visitor lands on a non-profit’s website, but fails to click around to any sub-pages or watch any videos, a message can pop up asking if he or she would like to view a video on the organization’s goals and activities. Or, if someone does find the virtual video on their own, the next step might be to offer them the opportunity to sign up for an e-newsletter, because the criteria have been met and the requisite interest has been shown.

Not only does this tailored approach improve your brand recall and keep your non-profit front-of-mind, it’s also effective in improving conversion rates and encouraging deeper exploration of your online content.

Personalization that Counts: Customizing the Message to Improve Effectiveness

In the non-profit sector, gaining exposure and attention is key. Yet, even more important is targeting that exposure in the right direction. You could manage to amass an enormous social media following but only about 10% of those people may be truly interested in what your organization is doing or planning to do. By leveraging AI to better understand your target audience, you’re able to craft compelling and data-driven messages that fit their interests and goals, improving your conversion rate along the way. Then, they’ll remember your name long after they close their browser, and that’s the kind of long-term exposure that builds an invested, interested community. 

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