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Harnessing AI for Associations: Tools & Trends to Watch

The article’s title, “Harnessing AI for Associations: Tools & Trends to Watch,” over a person using their phone.


AI is exploding in popularity, and various tools are coming into the daily use of many associations and their members. Salesforce is at the forefront of the integration and advancement of AI across many industries and sectors. Salesforce is setting an example for the responsible use of AI, keeping humans in control, narrowing the AI trust gap, and elevating the importance of data privacy and security in this new era. 

With the help of AI and robust association management platforms, associations stand to enhance their missions and take member engagement efforts a step further. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the key considerations for associations, including:

Tools like ChatGPT took the world by storm, making 2023 a big year for AI. Let’s get started by highlighting how associations are using Generative AI and other tools to improve member experiences, optimize productivity and efficiency, streamline events, and more.

Book a demo to learn how Salesforce tools like Fonteva can help you leverage AI for associations.

How are associations using AI?

Generative AI is changing the way businesses, nonprofits, and associations operate. Organizations are adopting this technology at a rapid pace—ChatGPT reached 100 million users in just two months!

Let’s take a look at a few ways that associations are harnessing the power of AI:

  • Marketing Materials: AI design tools like Adobe Firefly and Midjourney allow associations to make stunning visuals without the need for design expertise. With these tools, your association can create attractive, branded event flyers, brochures, and other promotional materials. 
  • Conferences and Events: Event marketing software with AI tools can help your association analyze attendees’ interests, session attendance rates, engagement levels, and member feedback. With this data, you can make predictions and personalize conference content to fit member preferences. 
  • Member Feedback: Tools like Bard and Anthropic evaluate member feedback and help you give personalized attention to members. They provide actionable insights on an individual level and identify trends across your entire membership. 
  • Chatbots: Chatbots serve as a frontline tool that associations use to provide member support and answer basic questions. With AI, chatbots can respond in a more conversational way and are better equipped to understand context and nuance. These tools free up valuable staff time by answering simple questions that don’t require human reasoning and voice. 
  • Content Curation: AI content curation tools allow associations to quickly create newsletters, emails, and social media posts. These tools consider members’ engagement history, preferences, and interests to serve tailored communications to each member.
  • Content Creation: AI tools enable subject matter experts to brainstorm topics, develop content frameworks or outlines, and write content more efficiently. This way, associations can provide informative, timely content to members on a regular basis.

These are just some of the ways AI is expanding the horizons of associations across the world. Be creative and continue looking for additional ways to use association technology to make your staff more efficient and tailor experiences to your members.

Can your association trust AI?

Using AI technology has been a controversial topic over the last few years, and for good reason. It is a decision that should be made with care, and there are ethical standards your association should put in place first.

However, using AI for associations can be safe and trustworthy. Here’s what the CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, has to say: 

“Every transaction and every conversation that Salesforce [has] begins and ends with the word ‘trust.’ Because we’re now on a societal AI journey, there is going to be a lot about responsibility in this technology. Responsible AI use is so critical.”

Salesforce continues to demonstrate a commitment to AI. Since 2018, the company has invested in many Large Language Models (LLMs) that power AI tools. They also have a dedicated team of AI experts working to publish research about the technology in scholarly journals. With more than 200 patents related to AI, it’s clear that Salesforce’s Einstein tool was just the beginning of its AI journey.

How can associations instill trust in members and use AI responsibly?

As Marc Benioff explained, trust is a top priority at Salesforce. Benioff acknowledges the “AI trust gap” that exists between the need for an AI strategy and the distrust customers have in companies using their data. This is why it’s so important to use AI responsibly. 

The trust gap can arise from issues like:

  • Data privacy
  • Hallucinations, or situations in which AI conceptualizes or creates a storyline in the absence of factual information
  • Data control
  • Bias 
  • Data toxicity or poisoning, in which an AI data training model is tampered with

Salesforce has already taken steps to avoid some of these issues. Patrick Stokes, Salesforce’s EVP for Product and Industries Marketing, explains that once a user enters a prompt containing your data, Salesforce will simply erase the prompt rather than store it. 

Using Salesforce AI tools is a great way to protect your data and ensure ethical AI usage. Your association should also create its own AI policies that address factors like your risk tolerance, protecting proprietary information, fact-checking, human checkpoints, and bias in data. 

Wrapping Up

The future holds endless possibilities as society harnesses the power of AI. The companies developing these tools must balance this power with a dedication to the responsible, ethical use of AI. 

To learn more about elevating your association’s potential with technology, check out our other resources:

Get started with AI for associations by investing in Fonteva, an AMS that will help you reach your full potential.
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