Insights from Xapien about the use of AI in major donor fundraising

10 March 2023
Major Donors
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Team Xapien turned out en masse at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising's Major Donor Fundraising conference on Thursday 2 March. It was a fantastic event, with informative and engaging talks and panels from inspirational speakers across the non-profit and higher education sectors.

Thank you to the Chartered Institute of Fundraising for organising such a fantastic event and for the opportunity to sponsor it. We look forward to continuing our support of the Chartered Institute and to participating in future events.

One of the key themes that came up throughout the conference was the importance of building and maintaining trust in the fundraiser/donor relationship, and of personalised, meaningful outreach and stewardship.

The speakers all raised the importance of truly knowing your donor, knowing what their values are and how they would like to be engaged. Knowing who your donor is and what makes them tick even before the first conversation enables you to build strong, meaningful relationships.

Typically, AI tools aren’t associated with trust. They are perceived as black boxes that spit out unreliable results. At Xapien we fight that perception. Our automated background reports are designed to build trust between counterparts. Our reports can give fully sourced insights into a donor or prospect’s background in 10 minutes. This enabled fundraisers to gain a deep understanding of their work history, previous affiliations and both their capacity and propensity to give. We are transparent about the fact that all this information is gathered from online sources. There will still be a role for a human to assess the credibility of the information, just like any internet user. But at least they know where the information has come from, and what the reptutation of their counterpart is.

Having this level of insight into your donor before relationship-building ensures that their values align with your organisation, and that you can make the process as valuable and meaningful as possible for them.

How AI can benefit major donor fundraising?

Screen a prospect in minutes

Uncovering actionable insights can take days, or even weeks of research when done manually. Not only does this take up time that could be spent building relationships, but it also prevents fundraisers from acting quickly.

Automation delivers weeks of research in minutes, unlocking vast amounts of time that can be dedicated to proactive relationship building and expanding the donor pool.

Xapien is enabling fundraisers to focus their energy where they'll be most successful, raising more money for research, grants and facilities.

Natalie Burles, Senior Due Diligence Specialist, Cambridge University.

Saves teams thousands of hours

Xapien doesn't just present articles for you to read, but reads them for you.

Assets, associates, wealth, business roles, descriptions, quotes and affiliations are identified, summarised, categorised, and presented in a digestible report – all in under 10 minutes.

At the development department in Dartmouth College, over 1,000 working hours have been freed up with Xapien. Before Dartmouth College used Xapien, only around 30% of potential prospects were being reviewed by their prospect researchers. Now, well over 75% are able to be reviewed.

Using Xapien as a first step in the prospecting cycle enables you to enter every conversation with an informed understanding of your prospect’s background and propensity to give.

Xapien uncovers key insights on individuals, from their donor history to their institutional, professional, and personal backgrounds. This enables fundraising teams to target their efforts in a way that drives lasting revenue.

For example, a prospect who has previously declined to donate is looked up on Xapien. Xapien discovers several images of them at the theatre. When the prospect is approached again, the institution can discuss the new auditorium being built and tell the prospect about the opportunity to attach their name to it.

Uncover connections and gain access to a wider network

As well as developing a comprehensive profile of existing and prospective donors, Xapien gives you insight into their associations. Being aware of negative associations can help avoid reputational harm. On the other hand, lucrative prospective donors might be revealed.

Natural Language Processing algorithms join facts to people and companies, identifying how they participate in events, where those events took place and other people or companies involved in them.

Whether it’s a job role, investment, takeover or marriage, it can set everything in context to provide the richest understanding. It can uncover niche information on low-profile prospects, as well as useful hard-to-find information about prospects with a large profile.

Beca Daniel
Beca Daniel
Account Executive
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