AI in Fundraising: the Research & Design Behind Story Enhancer

AI In Fundraising

At JustGiving, we’re all about giving our fundraisers and charities the best tools to raise money online, while keeping things simple and bringing that special JustGiving magic.

Earlier this year, we released Story Enhancer – our new AI-powered tool fundraisers use to tell richer, more compelling stories on their pages. Since launch, it’s already been used to improve nearly 5,000 fundraiser stories!

Story Enhancer is a fundraiser’s storytelling sidekick. In a few taps, fundraisers can craft powerful stories for their page, in the tones they choose.

Story Enhancer is a writing assistant, designed to help customers create better stories. It can be used simply to detect the tone of your fundraising story (for example, if your story sounds casual or formal), but also offers an ‘enhance’ service. If a fundraiser chooses to enhance their story, Story Enhancer rewrites it based on how they’d like it to sound, with some extra goodies like improved formatting and structure thrown in too!

Our team of research & design experts are here to share how we approached the development of Story Enhancer and what we’ve learned along the way.

P.S. – if you haven’t tried Story Enhancer, click here to give it a spin!

Start with the problem

Before considering a feature, we advocate starting with the problem we want to solve.

Our research highlighted that fundraisers often aren’t confident putting themselves out there and asking for donations. And this lack of confidence is often grounded in how unique and personal they perceive their fundraising story to be.

Additional contributors may include…

  • perceived time to create a story
  • perceived quality of written content
  • a need to ‘pre-plan’ a story
  • a need to understand what a “good story” looks like.

Our data has shown us fundraisers can raise up to 65% more if they customise their story section. But 35% of people use the default story (the one pre-written for them when they create their page).

It was clear there was an opportunity within peer-to peer fundraising to help boost fundraiser confidence and performance by helping people tell their stories.

With Story Enhancer, fundraisers can choose three tone words that best helps them tell their story in their way.

Take a responsible and intentional approach

We love building valuable experiences based on those real problems we discover.

As we explored our users’ needs and jobs-to-be-done, we considered how artificial intelligence could potentially work best for this problem. And in this process, we drew out a key insight:

Fundraisers don’t want ‘AI features’. They simply want ways to raise more money for the causes and charities they care about.

This meant that, if the solution involved AI, we needed to give it the responsible and intentional approach it deserves.

Perform strategic customer research

As we looked more into AI as a solution, we needed to understand how people felt about it. So we asked customers to try Story Enhancer, and observed their interactions. Here’s what we learned:

Gen Z

displayed higher levels of comfort with AI.
Gen Z research participant:

“I don’t see why it’s particularly important [to be told that AI is being used]. It’s clear that the computer is writing it [content] somehow…it doesn’t need to throw it in my face that ‘this is AI’.”
Gen X

more likely to want an indication AI was being used.
Gen X research participant:

“[Provide me with] a statement to read before I get to this [AI story support] bit…make me more conscious, give an option to ‘learn more’.”

mixed sentiment, though open to potential benefits
Millenial research participant:

“I did see a statement [about ‘OpenAI’], but I wouldn’t worry about it. What it comes down to is if it’s making it [online task] easier, and it’s not intrusive.”
A breakdown of how various research participants felt about interacting with Story Enhancer.

Our customer research told us we needed to think about…

  • Transparency. Fundraisers should be able to choose whether to interact with an AI feature.
  • Control. Fundraisers should stay in control, while having AI available for support (as opposed to doing it for them entirely).
  • Empowerment. Fundraisers should feel empowered to tell the story they want to tell.
  • Value. It’s up to our team to understand potential concerns around AI and explain its potential value.

Consider context and accessibility

We believe that by designing with accessibility in mind, we design better for everybody.

We talked to a wide range of people to ensure we’re getting the most important insight on the inclusivity of our tools. Because when it comes to new technologies, different use cases of AI may require different considerations.

For example, supporting vulnerable customers is a big part of the work we do. In some use cases (like if someone’s fundraising in memory of a loved one), the use of generative AI may feel less appropriate.

We also observed a potential heightened need for support during page creation in participants with dyslexia and anxiety diagnoses. This can be based in a need to create a story that appears ‘legitimate’ to others, to achieve a higher quality of content or concerns around the amount of time it will take them.

This is why it was important for us to understand the wider perception around AI, and then home in to explore specific use cases through prototyping and iterating.

When it comes to accessibility, AI has huge potential to improve customers’ lives. AI can be used to…

  • Reduce cognitive load
  • Improve efficiency
  • Safeguard
  • Auto-generate captions
  • Convert speech to text
  • Provide formatting assistance

We’re committed to helping charities and fundraisers enjoy the power of AI on JustGiving in a way that is fair, inclusive and reliable. And because it’s changing so fast, we want to make sure it’s safe for you and your supporters. Our Intelligence for Good vision helps guide us on these principles. Click here to find out more.

Empowering difference-makers with AI

Since we launched Story Enhancer,

  • 20% of fundraisers who create a page use the help of Story Enhancer.
  • 98% of Story Enhancer users said it helped them feel more confident launching their page.
  • 96% of Story Enhancer users said it gave them more confidence when asking for donations.

“[Story Enhancer] gave me the opportunity to explain who my dad was, what he stood for and how tragic the story was…if we can help our chosen charity off the back of the tragedy, I will be pleased.”

JustGiving fundraiser

Continuous improvement

What does the future of Story Enhancer look like?

Focusing on our customer and user outcomes, we base our hypotheses on our data and research insight, to help us measure and continue to iterate and learn.

By working closely with our customers and in our ongoing research and A/B testing, we’ll continue to learn how we can further improve the tool to better support your fundraisers in telling their story and achieving their goals.

See Story Enhancer in action

Story Enhancer helps fundraisers tell their best stories and raise more money for charity with the magic of AI.

A phone showing the Personalise your page interface and Enhance my story button of JustGiving Story Enhancer.

Ready for launch?

Campaign Pages are the best way to bring all your supporters together. Plus, your charity’s fundraisers get access to Story Enhancer, live-streaming, fitness apps, and other tools to share their fundraising journey and promote your cause. Learn more.

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