Ambit Group: Fundraising with Artificial Intelligence (AI) - the Microsoft Platform and the Ambit NPO Foundation as Enabler

Artificial Intelligence in Fundraising

Fundraising with Artificial Intelligence (AI) Microsoft and the Ambit NPO Foundation as enabler

The topic of artificial intelligence is omnipresent at the German Fundraising Congress (DFK) and SwissFundraisngDay in June. The interest in the impact of AI on the 3rd sector is enormous. Many specialist groups are working on the topic; workshops on the subject are almost fully booked, with experts providing an insight into this new field.

Artificial Intelligence Challenges NPO Strategic Relevance Microsoft Platform 


Initial situation AI in the context of fundraising

There are countless possibilities for the use of AI in fundraising, from the creative creation of content (text, images, video) to the complex handling of data. The current boom is producing a plethora of fragmented tools that are accompanied by controversial discussions about ethics and data protection. Fundraisers use the freely available possibilities of OpenAI (ChatGPT) or other providers. They practise prompting in order to give the AI targeted and effective tasks. Attentive IT managers and management are justifiably concerned about whether the security and compliant handling of data in accordance with the GDPR / DSG is guaranteed.

Artificial intelligence from the perspective of a platform integrator

Reason enough for us to take a stand from the perspective of a platform integrator for NPOs and fundraising and show how organisations can use AI in a secure, targeted, efficient and effective way.

With its NPO & Education business units and the XRM business unit, the Ambit Group specialises in providing organisations with step-by-step, digestible support for the Microsoft platform. The main aim is to digitalise and automate all business processes and the use of data. The topic of fundraising with all its special areas is an integral part of the Ambit NPO Foundation, which is newly built on the Microsoft Cloud for Non-Profits and maps the localisation and concretisation for the DACH region. Find out more about our product and our services for non-profit organisations here.

NPOs often do not benefit from the possibilities of AI - problem definition

Many NPOs are currently unable to utilise AI effectively. Heterogeneous system landscapes, outdated legacy systems and on-premise installations and the lack of a foundation in terms of infrastructure and Modern Workplace simply prevent the effective use of data. Added to this are important issues such as data quality, data architecture and the availability of data history. And the principle of shit in shit out will not change with AI. Figuratively speaking, it looks like this:


Obviously, there will be areas where AI can be utilised, but these will be isolated and solve a single use case in a silo application. But that will not be enough or is only the first step.


AI as a strategic factor

Non-profit organisations face a variety of strategic issues when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence (AI). These questions affect a variety of areas, from internal efficiency to achieving their mission goals. Here are some relevant questions that non-profit organisations should ask themselves:

Strategic orientation & objectives

  • What specific goals do we want to achieve with the use of AI?
    It is crucial to define how AI technologies can support the organisation's mission and strategic goals.

  • How does AI fit into our long-term strategy?
    The integration of AI should be part of a comprehensive strategic plan to ensure that it is sustainable and meaningful.

Data management & data protection

  • What data is available to us and how can we use it for AI? 
    The quality and availability of data are crucial for the success of AI applications.

  • How do we ensure the protection of our supporters‘ and beneficiaries’ data?
    Non-profits must ensure that their data handling processes comply with data protection laws, especially with regard to sensitive information.

Ethics and responsibility

  • How do we ensure that our AI applications are ethical?
    Non-profits should develop clear ethical guidelines for the use of AI to ensure that the technology is used responsibly and fairly

  • How do we avoid unintentional bias in our AI models?
    It is important to implement mechanisms to recognise and avoid bias in AI algorithms to ensure fair and balanced outcomes.

Resources and skills

  • What resources (financial, human, technological) do we need to implement AI?
    The implementation of AI requires significant investment in technology and training.
  • How do we train our team to develop the necessary AI skills?
    Non-profits need to ensure that their staff have the necessary skills and knowledge to use AI effectively.

Operationalisation and integration

  • How do we integrate AI into our existing processes and systems?
    The introduction of AI should be smoothly integrated into existing workflows to maximise efficiency gains.
  • What infrastructure do we need to support AI solutions?
    The technical infrastructure must be robust enough to support AI applications.

Impact and evaluation

  • How do we measure the success of our AI initiatives:
    Clear metrics and KPIs should be developed to evaluate the success and impact of AI applications.
  • How do we monitor the long-term impact of AI on our organisation and our stakeholders?
    Continuous monitoring and evaluation is necessary to ensure that AI usage is having the desired positive impact.

Stakeholder commitment and acceptance

  • How do we communicate the benefits of AI to our stakeholders?
    It is important to clearly communicate the benefits and advantages of AI in order to promote acceptance and support.
  • How do we deal with potential resistance to the use of AI?
    Strategies to overcome resistance and promote a culture of openness and innovation are crucial.

Partnerships and collaboration

  • Which external partners should we work with to expand our AI expertise?
    Collaborations with technology companies, research institutes and other non-profits can facilitate access to knowledge and resources.
  • How can we learn from best practices and experiences of other organisations?
    Sharing knowledge and experiences with other organisations can provide valuable insights and learning opportunities.

Our conclusion: AI use in non-profit organisations offers considerable opportunities

The use of AI in non-profit organisations offers significant opportunities, but also brings challenges. Careful planning and strategic consideration are critical to ensure that AI has a positive and lasting impact on the organisation and its mission.


McKinsey & Company. (2020). ‘AI for Social Good: How Nonprofits Can Benefit from Artificial Intelligence’.
Stanford Social Innovation Review. (2021). ‘Ethical AI for Nonprofits’.
Nonprofit Tech for Good. (2021). ‘How to Prepare Your Nonprofit for the AI Revolution’.

Microsoft platform - the key to AI for nonprofits

Microsoft has been working on the topic of AI worldwide for many years. The question can also be asked as to why this hype about AI is being launched right now. A question that is somewhat lost in the current turmoil. There is a lot of discussion about functions and thousands of tools. But the key point is often forgotten.


Microsoft has been rolling out a global network of data centres - the Azure Cloud - for years. These data centres are much more than just storage space and billing services. Countless services are connected behind it and solutions of all kinds are operated on this platform (including Dynamics 365 and the Power Plattform). In addition to the already well-established Azure in Switzerland, Amsterdam and Dublin, Microsoft is now also investing billions in Germany, France, Spain and other EU countries (e.g. Germany).

Key difference between AI tools and the Microsoft platform

Microsoft is the main investor in OpenAI, the leading AI platform with solutions such as ChatGPT. These solutions are also operated on and with Microsoft's Azure Cloud. The AI is integrated and not external to the application. And in a unique way. The customer receives these options and functions protected in their environment (tenant) and can use them in their applications with their data. No data is leaked to the outside, no data penetrates the system from the outside.

This means that the LLMs (Large Language Models), as an important tool for the use of machine learning, which aims to understand, generate and process natural language, can be used and set in an organisation-specific manner. And this guarantees the highest data protection requirements.

This means that AI can be used not only for text or image applications, but in all application areas. Be it in the development of code or the analysis of data. Microsoft has set itself the goal of providing users with so-called AI assistants, regardless of where they work and what they do. This assistance is called Copilot. The user is the pilot, has full control and can manage its use. In addition, there are many ready-made functions that provide support for the respective application.

Microsoft Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform

This video provides an overview of how Copilot works in Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, the security of your business data and compliance with data protection regulations, and the responsible use of generative AI:


Copilot functions for fundraising

There are countless areas of application in which Microsoft Copilot can be used. The prerequisite for this is that the organisation has implemented its data and processes on the Microsoft platform.

Here are a few specific examples:


The co-pilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Insight Journey (formerly Dynamics 365 Marketing) supports data selection. A segment can be described using normal language (I want all contacts from the federal state/canton XY, which....) and the AI converts this text into a low-code and automatically creates the segment. Link with details.


Create donor journeys with AI support

With Copilot for Customer or Donor Journeys, anyone can now use everyday conversational language to create marketing contact histories without the need for extensive knowledge of the product. You can improve the Copilot by providing feedback, which will help you achieve more detailed results in the future. Link with details.


AI support for the use of images and content

Copilot supports the search and selection of content so that images and content can be found more quickly and set up more efficiently in campaigns. Link with details.


Copilot im Spendendienst

The donation service receives many enquiries, problems and complaints. This input is received via various types of channels (email, web forms and, in future, portals, bots and live chat). The donation service can use Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Service to automatically summarise the emails, use knowledge articles and allocate them directly to existing contacts. This can massively improve efficiency and productivity in the donation service and utilise AI in a data-driven way, including feedback. Collaboration is improved and processes can be automated.


Updating and perfecting content

Copilot can be used to edit email, email templates, forms, text messages (messenger services) and push notifications. Copilot for rewriting content helps you to quickly iterate your content to optimise your messages. Copilot makes it easy to rephrase messages, adjust the tone of voice and shorten or lengthen texts. And not outside in a tool, but directly in the application in the protected area. Link with details. With Copilot for Customer or Donor Journeys, anyone can now use everyday conversational language to create marketing contact histories without the need for extensive knowledge of the product. You can improve the Copilot by providing feedback, which will help you achieve more detailed results in the future. Link with details.


Copilot for e-mail messages (in Outlook)

With Dynamics 365 Sales and the Copilot integration of Microsoft 365 (Outlook, Teams, etc.), email work becomes easier. Copilot automatically suggests texts when writing and replying to emails, based on your previous emails and input. You can choose from ready-made replies or enter your own text and the AI will do the rest. Find more details here.

These functions can also be used in Teams, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and SharePoint. The AI uses all existing data and adapts it to the respective communication. Here is an overview. This allows fundraisers  to communicate directly with donors and automatically track the content in the donors' timeline.

Design emails with AI-supported topics

The Design Wizard is a co-pilot feature that helps you customise the style of your email to match your existing website. With the Design Assistant, you can retrieve the style from a website you own and apply it to your email design.
Link with details.


Copilot for Business Intelligence / Power BI

The AI also supports the creation of reports, dashboards and the use of data in Power BI. This means that users can create requirements for a report in colloquial language even without much experience and this is then created with the help of AI. Link with details.


From Microsoft Copilot to our own AI models

In addition to AI assistants, organisations can develop their own AI solutions based on their data. In the future, for example, analyses of donation data with AI support could be a key game changer in the fundraising market. This will no longer take place at user level, but in the substructure on Azure.
Dedicated specialists are able to build and utilise these AI solutions as data scientists.

The Ambit Group has therefore decided to enter into a close partnership with a team of data experts and make them usable for our non-profit customers. With Novalytica, the use of data can be approached from strategy to implementation and utilisation.

Digital transformation at NPOs: rethinking at a strategic level

The digital transformation in non-profit organisations requires a rethink at a strategic level as well as an active engagement with new technologies and requirements. The willingness of management to make investments and adapt to digital change will be decisive for long-term success and increased efficiency.


The need for strategic transformation

The current challenges require comprehensive transformation and digitalisation. In many NPOs, a classic, silo-like organisational structure still prevails, in which internal needs are at the forefront.

Without prior engagement with data, processes and the target group, internal assessments lead to inconsistent requirements. In addition, there is often a lack of understanding of digital solutions, as many employees are only familiar with outdated systems.

Possible Questions

The key to successful transformation

The transformation should begin at a strategic level and derive a digitalisation strategy that integrates cloud/IT strategies and future organisational development. It is important to prepare everyone involved for changes and to clarify the framework conditions.

A goal-oriented examination of processes and organisation, taking into account future requirements for automation, new channels and interaction platforms, is essential. Collaboration with implementation partners, consultants and industry experts is crucial to success.

These results can be used to develop the blueprint for the future solution, including the data model, platform and solution design, interfaces and security measures. This forms the basis for an agile implementation of the transformation that progresses gradually and effectively, supported by monitoring and steering committees for precise realisation of ambitions down to the last detail.

Ambit Group: Your partner for the digital transformation of NPOs

At the Ambit Group, we have made it our mission to support NPOs in their individual digital transformation.

Our dedicated NPO team, led by Thomas Lewandowski, advises and implements organisations at process and data level and implements future solutions on the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofits.

We have developed solutions and localisations specifically for the German and Swiss markets. These have already been implemented at various organisations.

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Are you interested in this topic? I would be pleased to answer any queries you have.

Christian Schipp, Chief Business Development Officer

+41 79 954 17 09