The Meaning of boodleGPT for Nonprofits
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” -John C. Maxwell
Very few of us became fundraisers on purpose – it is often an accidental career path based on happenstance, skill sets, and opportunity. I started grad school in student affairs because that seemed to fit the bill, but by the end of my course work, I was a fundraiser through and through.
Over time, I realized good work needs philanthropy to fuel it – to make the progress I hoped for possible. And through some pretty smart mentors, I came to understand that philanthropy at its heart is about opportunity – connecting those with means to causes that can change the world in little ways and big ways and all those in between.
Simply put, I became a fundraiser because I just really wanted to make the world better and I loved people.
When I started my career in the late 90s, we were in the early stages of our current technical revolution. The internet, officially global in 1995 with the widespread adoption of Netscape Navigator, was no longer a novelty. It was part of every day business and was expected to change the way we researched, interacted, and consumed information. We were taking baby steps toward online giving and carrying Blackberries that sometimes worked for meetings.
For the first few years of my fundraising journey, I focused primarily on what I was good at – relationship building, communication, and being really organized. It wasn’t that I didn’t like technology, I just felt like I didn’t really need it to do my job well. Someone else who was “better” at it than me worried about what we needed.
Technology Changed My Life… for the Better
In 2005, I was asked to take over a struggling annual fund and was expected to oversee our database. It was a sliding doors moment. I could have said no… that’s someone else’s job. But instead I said yes. And spent a week in South Carolina learning everything I could about this mysterious tool.
That decision – the decision to take on something that seemed daunting changed my trajectory. I became a person who could learn technology. It was what I now refer to as a kaleidoscope moment – one where I took everything I knew and shifted my lens slightly to see the world in different shapes, colors and patterns. By taking that leap, I could take the one after that and the one after that because I KNEW I would figure out how to land on my feet.
20 years later, we have powerful computers in our pockets. Devices in our homes that can play music, control lighting, and start vacuuming with a voice command. My email reminds me I haven’t gotten back to someone recently and my phone opens with my face. The pace is so fast it can give you whiplash. Or make you want to hide under a rock.
The Ultimate Decision
Today we have another choice. We can embrace the AI Revolution with trepidation or with openness. And it’s another daunting leap. Another moment to work through.
We worry about complexity, cost, privacy, ethics. An unhealthy dependence on technology.
Will this take my job?
Will I still be needed?
As boodle publicly embarks on our journey to build boodleGPT, I’ve asked myself those very same questions. Part of me was REALLY scared. What is this? Do I have to learn ANOTHER THING? But I just got good at this thing.
And I’m already working in AI!!!
And I believe in this technology.
And I have spent my entire career helping people through change.
So I took a deep breath and I started thinking back to why I started working in this field. I wanted to make the world better. And I still do.
This – this new revolution – gives me one more set of tools.
One more way to look at my life’s work with a different lens.
Once I started to play with ChatGPT, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the ways boodleGPT is going to be able to help fundraisers with everything from communications prompts, to planning, to, eventually, seeing donor potential in a completely different way. I remembered back to that Annual Giving role and how long it took me to pull reports to analyze for my plan. What if I could have just asked for what I needed instead of building queries inside queries inside spreadsheets?
It’s another kaleidoscope shift. Another opportunity to help this space do what we do well – build relationships and provide connections between good work and good people.
The Best Part
YOU have the chance to learn with us. To be on the leading edge of something that will cause ripples of change. And offer different ways of doing your work in the world.
So, what would you like us to be able to build? What would help you do your best work? If you are open to discussing this change, book a meeting with me here. I would love to chat with you about your thoughts.