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Arjuna News

ExactAsk: Where Intelligent Tech Meets Intelligent Strategy

At ExactAsk, we utilize a variety of state-of-the-art technologies to produce amazing results for our clients. Our proprietary predictive analytics algorithm uses artificial intelligence to comb through massive sets of donor data and pinpoint the most useful and relevant information to compile personalized ask amounts.

To our leadership, these technologies are more than just products. They are extensions of our company-wide philosophy, and they are built on the same foundations that guide our human decision-making.

In other words, our technology and our strategy are two sides of the same coin. Let’s take a look at how they come together.

The Tech


In a nutshell, ExactAsk uses data about non-profit donors to determine a donation request amount that enables the highest likelihood of success. That success is measured by the metric that matters most: individual donor lifetime value. ExactAsk has been proven to increase individual donor lifetime value, which is defined by how much a donor gives to a non-profit during their lifetime.

So how does ExactAsk do it? The simple answer is artificial intelligence. More precisely, getting from data point to ask amount requires two emerging technologies: machine learning and predictive analytics.

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence. Essentially, it involves feeding data through an algorithm which has the ability to adjust and change, refining the way it processes that data over time. The more information that goes in, the better the algorithm becomes at parsing through it and delivering results. Learning is the operative word: the more work it does, the smarter it gets.

Predictive analytics is a branch of data analysis that uses existing information to make predictions about the future, rather than just drawing conclusions about the past. Obviously, machines can’t predict the future (at least not yet). What predictive analytics allows us to do is move toward strategies that have the highest probability of success.

In practice, these technologies help us create products like ExactForm. ExactForm is a customized landing page that is used together with email fundraising efforts. When potential donors visit an ExactForm, they’re presented with an ask amount that represents the culmination of everything we know about them, combined with everything we know about giving behavior, up to the very second they load the page. As we gain more data about that donor, or our algorithms become more refined, that ask amount will dynamically update to increase the probability a donor will give.

The Strategy


The same principles that guide our technology also guide our overall strategy. Like our machine learning algorithm, we are constantly improving based on our experiences. Every new client, every campaign result, and every new team member gives us more to work with, and makes us better at refining what we already know.

ExactAsk is about to take a huge leap forward in this regard, following the hiring of Michael Gorriarán, a globally experienced leader in cloud services. As General Manager of the Worldwide Commercial Markets Strategy Group at Microsoft, Michael was tasked with creating and leading the team that would push Microsoft to the cloud, staving off competitors like Google, VMware, and Amazon, and growing revenue from $58 billion to $77 billion annually. In his 10 years at Microsoft, he also planned go-to-market strategies for several other products and regions, and received the Corporate Circle of Excellence Platinum Club Award.

In his new role as Senior Vice President at ExactAsk, Michael will help us do what our predictive analytics algorithms do: move our clients toward the strategies with the highest probability of success.