State University researches software with AI and machine learning


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One of the largest college campuses in the state by population is enlisting the help of IT vendors to do more in the fundraising arena.

In a Request for Proposal (RFP) released Oct. 6, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is looking for “fundraising software for AI (artificial intelligence).” (With 39,359 students enrolled in fall 2020, the campus was the second largest in the system in terms of population.) Key takeaways:

  • The CSULB is looking for a “fully qualified and experienced company” to provide “a software service using artificial intelligence and machine learning”. The service should fully 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’s fundraising staff by creating an advanced automated system.” Respondents should be aware that this process may be used by other CSU campuses, including its chancellor’s office, the University of California, and its campuses; and one of the California Community College District campuses if it meets their administrative requirements.
    “The selected proponent will expand its services, pricing and other deliverables to other campuses seeking a similar scope of work,” officials said in the RFP regarding this potential growing need. They noted, “Other campuses that use this RFP for competitive purposes will make their own agreement with the selected proponent” and may “insert their own general provisions” into such a pact.
  • More precisely on the necessary capacities of the software, it must integrate with the CSULB Advance database with automated email on email templates and automated reminders; it should not require users to “always connect to multiple platforms” and should automatically and proactively send email notifications. The software is to provide automated AI to “prioritize potential donors and allow fundraisers direct access on their mobile devices and desktops.” It must use machine learning to “process data that would otherwise require staff time …”. It should provide “personalized travel recommendations, a weekly action plan and self-written stewardship emails to every fundraiser.” And generally, the software technology must be able to “multiply the current staff reach” through automation. Respondents should indicate training, support costs, and how full email integration will work into their proposals.
  • Among the relevant experience required, respondents should provide references that can document the effectiveness of previous projects in solving similar needs. Applicants should also provide three references for current clients with projects of similar or larger size and scale than this one. Preference will be given, according to the RFP, to providers who “provide references from higher education institutions of similar size and complexity to CSULB”. Profiles are also required for the members of the proposed vendor’s project team, that is, the people who would be assigned to the implementation if the project were assigned to a particular company. A summary of a company’s experience and background is required, as well as their number of years of experience working with the product proposed for this implementation; and a brief description of recent similar projects.
  • The value and duration of the contract are not indicated. Questions are due by Tuesday and will be answered by October 26. Tenders must be sent out by November 2 and will be reviewed by November 9. after evaluation. A notice of intent to award is expected by November 16.

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