Now is the time for fundraisers to embrace innovation

07 November 2022
Digital MediaInnovation
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In this interview, Chris Paver, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Dataro talks about barriers to innovation in fundraising ahead of his presentation at the Future of Fundraising Conference.

Can you give us a sneak peek into what your session will be about?

Well, the conventional thinking has been that charities don't do innovation, at least not in a big way. Why is that? Because real change comes with risks. What if we fail? Or what if we lose money? Or what if we damage our reputation?

But honestly, that hasn't been my experience working with charities from around the world. I've met people who are determined to embrace new ways of doing things because charity leaders recognise that without innovation, we can't grow at the pace that we need to, especially if we want to solve the problems charities are looking to solve.

So in my presentation, we're going to be talking about how charities can embrace new technology like AI and machine learning to raise more money, improve the donor experience and make our jobs easier.

So you've been working in this space for a while, what advice would you give charities to adopt AI to improve their fundraising, but don't know where to start?

The first thing to remember is that machine learning technology is already all around us in use every day, when you log into Netflix, or when ads are served to you on Facebook, or through a myriad of other activities. We are interacting with systems that are using machine learning on a daily basis. So I think the conversation has changed a lot in recent years. It’s no longer about whether or not charities should be using smarter systems, I think most charities want to use their data more effectively by embracing this technology.

The challenge is that the idea of machine learning is still a bit scary for many fundraisers, because they don't know exactly what it means for their programs. So that means it's easy say ‘that's too advanced for us’ or ‘we’re too small’ or our ‘data's too dirty’. But the fact is, that's just not true anymore.

So at the conference, I’ll be sharing examples of how large and small charities are already using machine learning to achieve some remarkable results across appeals, major giving, retention, and more.

My advice for charities looking to get started is don't assume that this technology isn't for you, it’s now available for anyone who wants to give it a go.

What kind of examples will you be looking at?

They will include things like how an organisation was able to increase major giving by 15% year on year by using smarter ways to uncover the hidden gems in their own database. As well as how small charities have been able to increase giving during end of year appeals whilst reducing costs. I'll also share examples about how to cut churn in your regular giving programs with a really simple, proactive strategy.

That does sound exciting and it’s great you’ll be there in person to answer any questions delegates might have, both during your session and in the breaks. What are you most looking forward to at the event?

I'm just so excited to be able to learn from other charities and fundraisers about how they are innovating, how they're pushing boundaries, what they've tried to do that's been successful. But what’s also really important, is to find out about what they've tried to do that has failed.

I think we need to embrace this culture of innovation and testing in fundraising, so that we're able to share our knowledge and ultimately get better as a sector. I think it's a brilliant opportunity to work with each other and come together and learn as a community.



Chris Paver
Chris Paver
COO, Dataro

Future of Fundraising Conference

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