Digitization is the strategic issue of our time and when done right, digital transformation helps connect people, processes, and technology. Digital possibilities and strategy have mutual influence on each other in helping shape overall organizational strategy and digital priorities.
Technology evolves at a rate that we have never seen before in human history and post-pandemic, that rate of change is only set to increase. Along with an increased rate of technological change, the options for digital solutions increases and it becomes a monumental task to sort out what digital solutions to put in place that will enable a transformation, changing how business gets done, and allow for better decision making.
With so many solutions in the market there is a higher risk of moving away from sustainable value towards what can be done for me now, today. Of course there have always been trends, and trends can be valuable to take part in, but trends by nature change as fast as the times. Then there is the tech that comes along with staying power.
Investing in digital technology that is here to stay may not be as appealing because often these solutions offer longer term value over immediate gratification. But investment is not an expense, and it’s key to remember, that if you don’t invest today you won’t get the results tomorrow (or next month, year, or the year after that also.) So how can you prevent getting wrapped up with too much trendy tech, and miss the mark on getting the core digital infrastructure that will future-proof your organization for years to come?
Three Pillars Fundmetric Offers:
Flexible data infrastructure
Change is constant, and for organizations looking to transform, this means that the solutions they invest in today will likely need to be adapted down the line. Integration friendly technology acts as a system of building blocks for expanding your existing infrastructure so that your organization can grow and evolve over time. Identify flexible infrastructure that actually influences revenue, and doesn’t just act as a top hat.
Whether we like it or not we live in a world of influence, digital infrastructure needs to be flexible enough to allow for data migration between different systems. It provides the foundation for an organization’s information technology, and operations, serving as a pillar to influence the level of reach an organization has.
Reach is a signal that starts at the center of your organization, and expands outwards through the things you directly control, the people and things that your organization influences and the larger community that your influencers influence. The signal strength of reach fades as you get further from the center of control, but if you have a strong foundation, the signal of reach will go further and remain stronger for longer.
Data Generation and information mining
The main function of data generation is that it is informing your signal of reach. The more information you have the more insight you have into improving your performance. Data generation is the most renewable resource ever available to the nonprofit sector, yet it is the most under-utilized. Technology has made it clear that this is the place where automation is actually constructive.
Data generation is more relevant than simple data capture because of the recency and volume that can be generated. In a global context that considers business, it is what electricity is to the electric car. Electricity and data generation have been around for a hundred plus years and electricity was used in almost every application, but not in cars..until recently. The energy source of the future for not for profit organizations is data generation.
One common pitfall is thinking of data points as the most concrete data that you can see and know exists. There is a type of data called metadata that is attached to these concrete data points and rarely captured. But data capture while often thought of as a utilitarian thing is actually an ideal, it can never fully be obtained. So, at some point you're making a decision on what to capture and how.
To be helpful in making the decisions on what to capture, Fundmetric provides a Framework, below are just a few examples of the types of framework we develop so people across the organization have an understanding of the data infrastructure we provide.
Artificial Intelligence that Constantly Learns
AI that is sustainable has to be constantly learning in order to keep up with a dynamic and changing organization, in a world of influence where we only have a small sphere of control. Running a data set through some algorithms to produce a result is sometimes called AI but for it to actually be intelligent, you need a dynamic ecosystem with a feedback loop that allows the machine to learn from experience and outcomes.
One of the biggest downfalls in fundraising is that point in time scoring is widely accepted as a best practice. A changing world has dictated that point in time scoring simply isn’t keeping up with how fast the world is changing. A dynamic AI ecosystem enables organizations to keep up with the speed of change by adjusting its outputs based on what is happening at the time. It is important to understand that there are some factors like a person's home value for example that don’t change every day, and there are some factors like how engaged they are with your brand and what that means to a neural network that do change more frequently.
One way to tell flash in the pan vs sustainable value is to consider the impact on the lifetime value of your donors over 5 years. If you take an event, even the most successful events held year after year, while they may generate increases in revenue, may not be increasing the lifetime value of your constituents, a sign that one should be cautious of the overall effort invested. This should not be taken to mean that events are not valuable, but it is what happens after the events that determine lifetime value.
The support and the nature of the partnership is incredibly important when adopting an AI solution. Supportive AI partners make all of the difference in your success because they understand that ultimately you will not get the intended value if adoption is not fully supported, and they need to mimic your investment in them by investing in you.
Bio: Kristopher has over 18 years of marketing experience in both Canada and the USA and 8 years experience in fundraising for Canadian charities. With an emphasis on multi-channel direct marketing, Kristopher has managed over $7 million dollars in annual donations integrating direct mail, digital including predictive modelling, face-to-face and telemarketing strategies to drive growth and lifelong donor journeys.
“The concept of digital fundraising today must include predictive modelling/machine learning. Including machine learning in the mix ensures that you’re driving down your cost of funds raised while ensuring that no donor feels overlooked because you’re providing meaningful, personalized stewardship touch points at the right time in their donor journey.”
-Kristopher Gallub, Fundmetric Fundraising Liaison