The challenge and the opportunity
It feels like every week of 2023 has seen some new huge developments in AI. Since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, the hype around generative AI (artificial intelligence) has been immense. The technology – and products built on the technology that can generate text, images and video – are game-changers. They promise a huge disruption, like the personal computer or the Internet itself.
But in the past years, there's also been hype about the metaverse, blockchain, the internet of things and many other technology development. Though not all hype turns into reality, the fact is we live in a world of exponential technologies and change, where change comes quicker than we can anticipate.
In late October 2023, staff from SOS Children’s Villages – many of whom focus on digital data analysis – will meet in Vienna for a workshop. When asked about the session, they have said that they would like to use the opportunity to investigate how AI can help them be more productive in their analysis and data storytelling. This meeting also offers staff an opportunity to look to the future and think about how generative AI and other big emerging technologies could affect digital and data-driven fundraising in the future.
Platforms like ChatGPT could help staff face this future, offering support in two distinct ways:
- They can provide a partner in the process of generating and developing ideas, narratives, strategies, options and opinions. This can save time and make data presentations, more understandable, more persuasive and ultimately more impactful for stakeholder audiences.
- They can provide an assistant to undertake certain data analysis, data reformatting or automation tasks that can be laborious or complicated, freeing up time and energy for other priorities.
On a practical level, adopting generative AI is still challenging. A key barrier is simply how to get started… knowing what tools exist, what prompts and plugins to use, what are the security, ethical or other risks in each tool. Other challenges include the speed of change; the propensity of generative AI to “hallucinate” (make things up); legal, ethical and regulatory issues around the content tools use as an input or that they produces as an output; and understanding the risks it poses for labour markets.
But not engaging with generative AI now is not a sensible option, and understanding generative AI, and ChatGPT in particular, offers the opportunity for participants to understand in a very hands-on way how generative AI tools can help them be more strategic, persuasive, efficient and effective in their day-to-day work. And they will be central in preparing for the future.
As a result of a session at the data intelligence in fundraising workshop in October 2023, SOS Children’s Village staff should:
- Understand key trends that may define digital and data fundraising in the coming years and the opportunities and challenges the offer for SOS Childrens Village.
- Have practical understanding of some of the ways in which ChatGPT and other relevant tools can be used to undertake some common tasks they have – in particular in data storytelling.
- Understand key definitions (generative AI, large language models etc.), recent technology developments and key tools.
- Be aware of some of the major opportunities, risks and challenges generative AI tools offer for them as data specialists and for staff they work with, and how to use them safely.
- A 1.5 hour practical session to interrogate key trends for the coming five years that could affect digital and data fundraising.
- A presentation outlining key future trends in digital and data fundraising, including those relating to emerging tech and societal change.
- Group work on scenarios for the future, defined around two axes: “the level of emerging tech take-up by supporters” and “supporters expectations around their decision-making power in fundraising”. Each group is provided with a handout outlining their future scenario, and a set of trends they need to review and assign to either “opportunities” or “threats” for SOS Childrens Villages in future fundraising. They then need to define together the key strengths and weaknesses of the organisation in taking the opportunities or mitigating the threats.
- An overview of key definitions in this area: generative AI, LLMs, etc.
- Side-by-side comparisons of ChatGPT, Bard, Bing AI, Otter.AI, Midjourney and other tools to understand how this rapidly-changing market is developing.
- Guidance and live demos of writing, testing and validating effective prompts. Exact demos will be developed based on conversations with participants about their priorities and pain points (particularly challenging or time-consuming tasks). Examples of use cases could include:
- Developing narratives and analogies to explain data;
- Drafting strategy and recommendation papers;
- Planning meeting agendas and creating more participatory meetings;
- Proof-reading and translation; and
- Engaging on KPIs, objectives and metrics options.
- A Q&A session.
The demos would include at least one demo in Spanish to highlight how the tools work in different languages.
Preparation and delivery of presentation and live demos in a 3 hour session
Following this session, other activities could be developed to widen the scope of conversations, or provide more practical support to teams in SOS Children’s Villages. This could include webinars or other sessions that:
- Support for teams or individuals across the organisation in creating safe spaces for experimentation and sharing their learning across the organisation.
- Deep dives into leadership or risks / compliance issues for generative AI, including AI policy.
- Look at the relevance and impact of generative AI on fundraising teams more widely, including the potential impact on marketing in a future of AI agents.
Why work with me?
My passion is helping non profits realise a transformative vision of what they could be in the digital and AI age.
Over 15 years as a senior digital leader, I have worked with non-profit organisations to understand their goals; explore the possibilities digital offers for achieving these goals; and map and deliver the changes they needed to succeed.
My experience and knowledge from my time working as Head of Digital in MSF Spain gives me a strong perspective on what the opportunities and challenges are for fundraising in international NGOs, including around the use of digital data and innovation.
In addition, since 2021 I've been working as a non-profit digital strategy consultant, alongside studying for an Executive MBA at ESADE Business School in Barcelona. Through this role, I've undertaken strategy projects at national and international non-profits – including Oxfam Intermon, the International Science Council, Greenpeace Spain, Relate, Concern Worldwide (UK) and Family For Every Child. In each organisation, I’ve worked with senior leaders to help them develop and start realising an ambitious digital vision. The consultancies have covered income generation, product development, audience development and changing organisational skills and mindsets.
Previously, my work building a digital team at UNISON led to it being listed in the Digital Leaders 100 list in the UK, while at ODI my digital strategy was awarded Digital Strategy of the Year at the European Digital Communications Awards.
Finally, since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022, I have focused much of my time on understanding how generative AI can best be used to help a charity (or charities) have the greatest impact, and also what changes might be needed to processes, culture, skills, strategy and structure to do so. I have run hands-on training sessions with a number of clients, including MSF and the International Science Council, on using ChatGPT and I am reading, experimenting, thinking and publishing articles on its applications for non-profits.
Here are some recent example posts I’ve written on related subjects:
- 10 truths about AI that fundraising / communications leaders should be acting on
- How Generative AI could be used in fundraising campaigns
- A fundraising copy-writing experiment using ChatGPT
- Launching a new initiative to investigate conversational AI in fundraising and wider applications
- A post on how ChatGPT plugins could spell the demise of the organisational website
- A LinkedIn post on job recruitment in charities in the world of ChatGPT
I am also actively developing an experimental “Fundraising Copywriters Assistant” to test how AI can be used in fundraising copywriting.
The workshop would be delivered in October 2023.
Based on the deliverables above, and assuming the workshop uses a format already developed for other clients but tailored to this audience and their needs, the investment would be as follows:
Number of days
Total investment €1400
This does not include travel and accommodation.
50% of fees would be invoiced in advance of the session, 50% following the session. Payment is due within 30 days of the invoice.