Rev. Billy Graham once stated, “when used correctly tech could do wonderful things” Observer

Technology is reimagining habits for worship and for the worshipper. Vendors now offer mobile apps, social media and websites for the faithful. For example, traveling Catholics can access apps or the Internet to locate nearby services. www.masstimes.org

Vendor’s offerings, such as, Subsplash (community engagement) and Tithe.ly (online giving) and Pushpay, enable secure automation for many administrative and management tasks. In doing so, Big Data is now part of doing business as a place of worship. Data is collected on attendees and members’ activities, especially, if a multi-site or mega place of worship.

How will this data be put to better use?

The answer could be Artificial Intelligence (AI). For AI, machine learning and natural processing language ingest and analyze data to mimic human reasoning. Many vendors are adopting these algorithms. Why not? AI platforms can now discern and react to individual user’s emotions and feelings while online. See Receptiviti

Raising the question, should places of worship use vendors that will eventually offer AI tools and services? If they do will they tarnish their reputations?

Expect over the next 5 years to see certain use cases become the subject of AI in some form:

Personalize engagement. People communicate and interact using social media platforms and rate these interactions based on user experiences. Imagine use cases to:

  • Prompt deeper online discussions about certain topics.
  • Deploy digital assistants to personalize opportunities and requests.

Sharpen Outreach.   Attracting adherents is critical for sustainability. This explains direct mailings and virtual offerings (email, social media and websites) as part of the business. Imagine use cases to:

  • Analyze individual likes (podcasts) and dislikes (insufficient childcare) to customize outreach efforts and generate feedback.
  • Tailor messages for donations and share success stories to accomplish fundraising goals.

Cybersecurity. Due to the personally identifiable and financial data collected and used. Places of worship are centers of gravity for cyber attacks. Imagine use cases to:

  • Identify suspicious behaviors.
  • Offer more secure authentication steps for online users.

Places of worship do not need AI for any of these use cases but AI can offer more granular insights, improved decision-making and potential for personalization.

Recommendations: Vendors

  • Be careful. Apply it judiciously, not universally.
  • Offer tactical not major strategic solutions.
  • Know your nonprofit industry. Explore the many ways AI technologies can enter and benefit your clients.

Recommendations: Worship Leaders

  • Recognize vendors are focused on delivering new capabilities.
  • Determine vendor partnerships and integration abilities for AI. 
  • AI platforms, tools and services could implicate privacy policies. As such expect online training and other safeguards. 
  • Avoid being creepy. Limit to routine engagement activities. 

Reference: Blog Posts

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Author Disclosure

I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I have no vested interest in any of the products, firms or institutions mentioned in this post. Nor does the Analyst Syndicate. This is not a sponsored post.