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State University Seeks Software With AI, Machine Learning

In a Request for Proposal, California State University, Long Beach calls for responses from vendors who can provide a software system to help it do more with fundraising.

The sign at an entrance to California State University, Long Beach.
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One of the state’s largest university campuses by population is seeking assistance from IT vendors to do more in the area of fundraising.

In a Request for Proposal (RFP) released Oct. 6, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is looking for “(Artificial Intelligence) AI Fundraising Software.” (With 39,359 students enrolled as of fall 2020, the campus was the system’s second largest by population.) Among the takeaways:

  • CSULB seeks a “fully qualified and experienced firm” to provide “for a software service using artificial intelligence and machine learning.” The service must completely integrate with the university’s existing database and email system it already uses for fundraising. The goal of the service is “to increase the reach of the university fundraising staff by creating an advanced automated system.” Respondents should know that this process may be used by other CSU campuses including its chancellor’s office, the University of California and its campuses; and any of the California Community College District campuses should it meet their administrative requirements.
    “The selected Proposer shall extend its services, pricing and other deliverables, to other campuses seeking a similar scope of work,” officials said in the RFP regarding this potential expanding need. They noted: “The other campuses that utilize this RFP for competitive purposes will enter into their own agreement with the selected proposer” and may “insert their own general provisions” into any such pact.
  • More specifically on the software’s necessary capabilities, it must integrate with the CSULB Advance database with automated email on automated email templates and reminders; it must not require users to “continually log into multiple platforms” and must automatically and proactively push notifications via email. The software must deliver automated AI to “prioritize donor prospects and allow fundraisers direct access on their mobile devices and office computers.” It must use machine learning to “process data that would otherwise require staff time ... .” It must provide “personalized travel recommendations, a weekly action plan, and self-written stewardship emails to each fundraiser.” And generally, the software’s technology must be able to “multiply the current staff reach” via automation. Respondents should indicate training, support fees and how full email integration will take place in their proposals.
  • Among the relevant experience required, respondents should provide references that can document how effective prior projects were in resolving similar needs. Applicants must also provide three references for current customers with projects of similar or larger size and scale to this one. Preference will be given, the RFP says, to vendors who “provide higher education facilities references of similar size and complexity to CSULB.” Profiles are also required for members of the proposed vendor project team — people who would be assigned to the implementation if the project is awarded to a particular company. A summary of a company’s experience and background is required, as is its number of years’ experience working with the product proposed for this implementation; and a summary description of similar projects that were recent.
  • The contract value and term are not stated. Questions are due by Tuesday and will be answered by Oct. 26. RFPs are due by Nov. 2 and will be reviewed by Nov. 9. The university may call for in-person finalist presentations from two or more suppliers whose proposals rank highest overall after evaluation. A notice of intent to award is expected by Nov. 16.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.