Artificial intelligence enters every part of business and marketing, including fundraising for nonprofit organizations. One company active in this space is Arjuna Solutions, focusing on revenue optimization.
I had a discussion with Adam Treiser (CEO) and Michael Gorriarán (SVP) from Arjuna Solutions, to understand better how AI can be used in nonprofit fundraising.
Adam has been focused on developing the business concept and architecture of Arjuna Solutions’ technologies over the past five years. He is also a distinguished professor of Decision Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering.
He invested 2.5 years developing the underlying technical architecture of Arjuna’s products, and he has been successfully testing its fundraising solutions in market with a select group of nonprofit clients over the past three years.
Michael is responsible for leading the development and execution of Arjuna’s go-to-market strategy. He is a globally experienced technology sector executive with core skills in general management (P&L), broad-scale business and go-to-market leadership, as well as successfully repositioning businesses to pursue new growth opportunities. He has over thirty years of experience in advanced cloud services, enterprise software, professional services and business process outsourcing with both Microsoft and Xerox.
Now, over to the interview!
What is Your Company’s Background?
Arjuna was founded to solve the pricing inefficiencies that exist in nonprofit fundraising from individual donors. The firm provides a compelling technical solution for nonprofit organizations to use to efficiently expand their financial foundations through enhanced levels of support from individual donors.
Arjuna’s patented ExactAsk Artificial Intelligence Platform for Nonprofit Fundraising was developed to provide highly precise, Individually Optimized “Ask Amounts” for nonprofit organizations to use in broad-scale, individual donor fundraising solicitations.
Individual donors traditionally comprise 72% of overall donations to charities, however, it is nearly impossible for nonprofit organizations to know precisely how much to ask from each individual donor, while simultaneously retaining the participation of these donors.
As a result, nonprofit organizations have tended to use simple pricing strategies such as echelon pricing or broad-segment requests along with inspirational solicitation letters to inspire individual donors to provide as a much funding as possible.
While these strategies are less efficient than the highly curated nature of Major Gift Solicitations, they are cost-efficient, and pervasively used in over 200 billion individual donor solicitations per year.
Arjuna solves these inefficiencies by knowing precisely how much to request from each individual donor without experiencing donor drop-off. The firm can also determine precisely when to make the request, as well as how to optimize the positioning of the written solicitation. These artificial intelligence capabilities provide the effectiveness and precision of Major Gift Solicitations at the material scale needed to pursue enhanced gifts from individual donors. Arjuna Solutions leverages the incredible cost efficiencies of cloud services to provide its A.I. solutions to nonprofit organizations at an extremely competitive price.
Arjuna’s customers typically experience faster responses to solicitations, with a higher rate of participation from donors, and increased levels of giving, all while lowering the overall marketing expenses of fundraising campaigns.
What Does Your Product do, and why is it Important to Your Customers?
Arjuna solves the problem of delivering the unrealized revenue caused by the traditional broad-segment pricing strategies used by nonprofit organizations in individual giving solicitation campaigns. Arjuna uses artificial intelligence technology to build individually optimized donor lifetime models for each individual donor in each specific nonprofit organization.
This solves three problems including:
- The suboptimal revenue yield produced by traditional broad-segment pricing strategies
- The disequilibrium that exists between the value that nonprofit organizations provide to their communities in comparison to how well these organizations are actually supported by donors through existing fundraising practices.
- Reducing the increasing marketing expenses associated with traditional individual donor solicitation campaigns.
Arjuna solves these problems while balancing the classic tradeoff between “sales price” or the amount requested of a donor vs. “sales volume” or the retention in the number of donors participating in individual giving campaigns. Arjuna chooses individually optimized price points that breaks this traditional view of pricing, by optimizing both price points and donor participation rates.
Arjuna individual solves the classic pricing problems of:
- Not selling to customers at a higher price point when possible….
- Not lowering prices effectively to gain incremental sales volume
How Does Your Product use AI?
Arjuna provides its patented ExactAsk Artificial Intelligence Platform to nonprofit organizations for use in individual donor fundraising campaigns. This algorithm uses a combination of Unsupervised Artificial Intelligence and Reinforcement Machine Learning to optimize the revenue produced from individual donor solicitation campaigns.
This capacity to judge and provide highly precise, individually optimized pricing in fundraising campaigns is impossible to achieve at scale by individual marketers. Arjuna’s A.I. capabilities enhance the ability of marketing professionals to improve their efficiency and productivity in fundraising at material scale with individual donors.
Arjuna’s algorithm is cloud-enabled, and it is sold as a service. As a result, it is rather simple for nonprofit organizations to quickly adopt the technology. Arjuna has supported nonprofit campaigns on short notice, leveraging its centralized group of data scientists and account management specialists to ensure the seamless adoption of the technology.
Arjuna’s ExactAsk Platform has produced more than 17 million personalized ask amounts for nonprofit solicitations, generating an average return on investment in excess of 300% within the firms year of use, with donor revenue uplift of 20% in the first year and over 70% within two years.
Arjuna was named one of the Top 25 Machine Learning Companies of 2018 by CIO Applications Magazine. Adam Treiser, CEO/Founder of Arjuna Solutions was recently asked to deliver the keynote address at the United Nations Human Horizons Conference in April of 2018 on the subject of “A.I. for Humanity”.
In Your Mind, What is the Future of AI in Business and Marketing?
The capabilities of Artificial Intelligence when combined with the compelling economics of cloud services allows Arjuna Solutions to provide highly curated end user experiences to customers at material scale around the world.
A.I. will be pervasively adopted in all B2C and B2B relationships in one form or another within 36 months. Leveraging the capability of A.I. will provide an immediate source of competitive advantage for those who understand its capabilities and are culturally adaptive enough to deliver new forms of insightful customer experiences to their end users.
Arjuna Solution’s customers are realizing significantly enhanced levels of revenues from individual donors with a more cost efficient approach to fundraising through the ExactAsk Fundraising Platform.
Do You Have Any Other Thoughts on AI for Nonprofit Organizations?
Nonprofit organizations are facing increasing levels of competition in fundraising, with new 501C3 organizations emerging at five times the rate of the growth in the level of giving. This phenomenon is being driven by the increased levels of awareness of environmental and social emergencies from both online news and social media resources.
Existing fundraising systems and business practices along with constrained government budgets are unable to keep pace with the increased need for financial support to address environmental and social issues.
Today’s nonprofit organizations need to adopt new, more cost-efficient, technology-driven, automated methods of fundraising if they are to keep pace with the budgetary needs of fulfilling their existing charters.
In this blog post, Lindsay Tjepkema presented interesting information on AI-based personalization across different marketing channels.
I am an author, speaker and consultant in marketing automation and artificial intelligence.
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Author, speaker and consultant in the aras of marketing automation, artificial intelligence, and the Internet-Of-Things. Contact me if you need help!