Expanding Nonprofit Workforce With Deep Learning
Expanding Nonprofit Workforce With Deep Learning


Many of the 1.5M nonprofits in the US face increasing pressure to achieve their missions due to fundraising inefficiencies, lack of access to talent pools, and budget constraints. This limits the social good that can be cultivated to improve our world.

Through this lens, we’ll explore how artificial intelligence has played a crucial role in expanding the capabilities of nonprofit organizations, allowing them to build more and deeper relationships with supporters without having to hire more people (or fire anyone). As practitioners of vertical AI products, we’ll show how we’ve utilized open source technologies including TensorFlow, NLTK, CRFsuite, SKlearn, and others to determine who is most likely to give a donation to an organization and learn from communications to mimic the cognitive functions of fundraisers to expand their reach.

The discussion will center around case studies involving the College of Charleston, where AI was used to increase their workforce throughput by 160%, and University of Delaware, where AI uncovered a $50M donor. Similar examples will be pulled from cancer research, human rights, and Alzheimer’s funding.

The talk is intended for beginner-to-intermediate attendees. The main takeaways will be an exploration of AI in SaaS products, how behavioral psychology affects AI adoption, and insight into the nonprofit industry.


David Woodruff is Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Resource Development at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and he has served in this capacity since June 2012. There he oversees front-line and support operations of a development team that raises more than $500 million per year. MIT recently launched the public phase of its $6 billion comprehensive campaign, The MIT Campaign for a Better World.
David first worked at MIT between 1984 and 2002. His assignments included corporate fundraising and individual giving and he led the major gifts team in MIT’s successful $2 billion campaign in 1997-2004, Calculated Risks/Creative Revolutions. Between 2002 and 2008, David was Chief Development Officer at Harvard School of Public Health where he headed up initial planning for the School’s portion of a Harvard University campaign. From 2008 to 2012, David held the post of Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for Development at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) where he oversaw overall development operations and guided the execution of the hospital’s successful $1.5 billion campaign, The Campaign for the Third Century of Medicine.
David received his bachelor’s degree from MIT and master’s degree from Stanford University. David also earned his MBA from Babson College. David has been a frequent presenter at conferences held by CASE, AFP and AHP and serves on a number of nonprofit boards. In 2017 he was the recipient of CASE’s Quarter Century Circle Award for fundraising service in higher education. David is also a Certified Fundraising Executive. David is currently president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and began his two-year term in 2019. David serves on the newly created AI in Advancement Advisory Council.

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