Will ChatGPT take over your fundraising job?

AI Chatbots will change the way we work with computers — including how we use them for fundraising

When Bill Gates says ChatGPT is “the most important advance in technology since the graphical user interface” (the tech that introduced the world to Windows) you can bet there’s something big on the way.

ChatGPT’s appearance in November last year has kicked off a new race to build AI Chatbots into just about everything we do with computers, including the familiar office programs and online services we use as fundraisers.

Gates and others foresee a leap in computer intelligence that will transform the way we use them — and we use computers (i.e. devices) for pretty much everything we do.

What if instead of spending hours tied to our keyboards and mice, we could hand many of our everyday computer tasks over to AI Chatbots?

“Summarize that video meeting and create a list of action points”

“Read that quarterly report and prepare a board-level presentation”

“Search my email history and give me a summary of our past projects with this agency”

This sounds far-fetched, but have a look at this preview from Microsoft of Copilot, their upcoming Office 365 Chat assistant.


Here’s a longer version (10 mins) that goes into more detail.

This is going to take some getting used to.

We may look back at the computers we’re using now as if they were typewriters from the 1960s.

That’s what has Bill Gates predicting a future where computers aren’t just tools that we use, but are more akin to having a white-collar assistant always available to help you.

Is ChatGPT your newest fundraising hire?

Chatbots aren’t going to take our jobs — at least not yet — but we’ll surely see the nature of those jobs greatly transformed.

Fundraisers work with words and data. We expend a lot of our attention and brain energy doing the “point and click” busy work of knowledge management (report, review, summarize, re-format, distribute). If we’re able to hand much of that work over to AI chatbots, will we have more time to spend on the creative and strategic aspects of our jobs?

Fundraisers also work with people, and that won’t fundamentally change. But by using personal Chatbot assistants able to more efficiently schedule meetings, respond to emails, and navigate our often-scattered document trails, will we be freed to spend less time organizing our work schedules and more time on actual relationship-building?

It’s possible, but …

Humans can be pretty stubborn and resistant to change — and many “transformative tech” predictions have fallen far short of early expectations.

I suspect that the introduction of Chatbots into our work lives will feel less transformative, and more empowering. As we start using Chatbots to assist us with our daily tasks, the experience will probably feel more like a quality & satisfaction boost than actual productivity gain.

If a Chatbot can produce an initial draft of a powerpoint presentation in 30 seconds rather than a half-hour of our own point-and-click work, then we can spend more time reviewing and refining to get a result we’re happier with, rather than ‘the best we could do right now’.

We may also experience that we get through our ‘to-do’ lists more quickly and feel like we’re making more progress that expected on multiple projects in our plans. Some of us may feel less need to work extra hours — which would be an incredibly positive outcome.

But it will likely take more time before we see the kind of significant, measurable productivity gains that could disrupt current fundraising jobs.

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Interest in AI Chatbots is in the steep uphill climb of the Hype Cycle, and it will tumble as the novelty passes and reality-checks kick in, but then we’ll start the real process of integrating AI Chatbots into our practical work lives.



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