Artificial intelligence 101 for associations

Get ready to understand AI, explore its applications, and start using it.

Artificial intelligence can help associations operate more efficiently, make more informed decisions, deliver a better member experience, and more. And it’s all within reach.

You’ve likely heard about artificial intelligence (AI). We’ve all experienced AI in some capacity. For example: When you order something on Amazon, and it recommends another item you might be interested in purchasing. Or when you’re on a website and a box pops up asking if you need help.

In the for-profit world, early adopters of AI are enthusiastic about it. In a global survey by Deloitte, 47 percent of firms said they’ve already invested $500,000 to $5 million in AI. Fifty-one percent expect to increase their investment by at least 10 percent in the next year.

Associations are getting started with AI, too. According to the Community Brands Digital Evolution Study, those working at professional member organizations indicate that AI is an emerging area for technology investment at the associations where they work. In fact, four percent say they have invested in AI technology, and 15 percent plan to invest.

Just think: As businesses provide increasingly personalized experiences using AI, your members will expect the same in more areas of their lives ― including their experience with your association. In an article from the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE), author Amith Nagarajan said, “To prepare for the future, associations should embrace the possibilities of artificial intelligence.”

But what is AI? What are its possibilities for associations? How can associations get started with it?

Let’s break it down.

What is artificial intelligence?

Simply put, artificial intelligence is technology that simulates human intelligence. It mimics human “thinking” using complex algorithms, or sets of rules, that are followed in calculations and other problem-solving operations.

What are the possibilities of AI for associations?

Here are some examples of practical ways AI can help your association:

Provide better member service using chatbots.

Chatbots are a simple form of AI. You’ve probably come across chatbots multiple times on websites when a box pops up and asks if you need help. They’re computer programs that simulate conversations with human users – particularly over the internet.

Chatbots can help your organization support and scale your association’s interactions with members, in turn improving the customer experience. For example, you can automate aspects of member service, such as answering common questions or renewing a membership, via a chatbot to provide immediate response 24/7 and free up staff time. With chatbots intercepting and answering more straightforward questions, the more complex inquiries can be passed to a live agent, who can take the needed time to assist the member and ensure a great experience.

Boost non-dues revenue through cross-selling.

Create a familiar (and effective) Amazon-like shopping experience that recommends new purchases based on past behaviors and “what other members like you purchased” to increase non-dues revenues.

Improve renewal rates by predicting member behavior.

Use data about past behaviors to predict if a member is unlikely to renew, and then intervene before losing the membership. Another article about AI on this blog includes a real-world example of how an association is using AI to increase member retention by identifying individuals likely to lapse. When an at-risk member is discovered, team members are automatically presented with actionable steps they can take to encourage the member to renew.

Getting started with AI

AI might seem intimidating and overwhelming – too techy and too many possibilities. How would you possibly get started?

But the truth is that using association management software (AMS) with built-in AI capabilities makes getting started with AI completely achievable. For example, Nimble AMS is built on Salesforce and leverages Salesforce Einstein AI technology, making it easy for associations to do things like set up AI-based chatbots with point-and-click simplicity.

Learn more

AI isn’t going to wait for you to catch up. It will continue to evolve and become more of a driver of our everyday experiences. The time is now to understand it, explore its applications, and get started with it.

Read the guide, What Every Association Should Know About Artificial Intelligence, to gain more insights into AI and how associations can leverage AI within an association management software system.

Learn more about why Nimble AMS is the most in-demand AMS built on the Salesforce CRM platform.

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