As an industry plagued by fundraising models that are reliant on channels like direct mail with outdated data practices, the founders of Australian give-tech startup Dataro saw the charity sector was ripe for innovation.
The company uses AI technology to change how charity fundraising works, and today it has announced a successful $2.5 million seed funding round of its own - led by Basis Set Ventures, Black Sheep Capital and Save The Children - to support rolling out the service to more non-profits.
Dataro uses machine learning algorithms to analyse patterns in the charity’s entire history of fundraising, including transactions, engagement and communications data, to paint a much more detailed picture of giving.
Each donor is then given a predictive score reflecting their estimated probability of giving. As a case study, these propensity scores helped the Royal Flying Doctor Service Australia increase net revenue in its 2020 tax appeal by $35,000, including around $9,000 in savings in mailing costs by removing the least likely givers from their mailing list.
"The effects of COVID mean many charities are struggling to raise the same funds and their causes are suffering. Our AI fundraising tools make fundraising more efficient," says Dataro CEO Tim Paris, who co-founded the business with Chris Paver and David Lyndon.
"While most big corporations these days use data to maximise their efficiency, charities have not had the budgets needed to do the same. Dataro is the fast track for charities to use these innovations.
"Our mission is to help charities raise more money, from the smallest art gallery to the largest multinational charity."
Dataro counts organisations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, Victor Chang and many other large and small charities amongst its users.
The software startup was also recently selected as one of the top 10 fundraising innovations globally in the prestigious Reimagining Fundraising competition, which was hosted by 14 leading international non-profits to find game-changing fundraising solutions.
"As an impact investor, Save the Children Australia is focused on driving solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems," says Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds.
"Not-for-profits are at the forefront of this innovation, but are often hindered by their access to funding.
"We’re proud to be investing in Dataro which we believe can help more charities utilise AI learning to achieve the impact they seek."
Parkinson's UK individual giving manager Ceri Smith says that in a challenging landscape, appeals campaigns have had to work harder than ever during COVID-19 so that the group's pioneering research and vital support services can continue.
"We knew we needed to take a new and innovative approach and this meant using the data we have available in a different way," Smith says.
"Dataro’s AI software allowed us to both maximise income and minimise wasted costs.
"Their model has transformed the way that we keep up with the rapid changes in how supporters are engaging with us and target them with relevant asks."
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