Freelancers for charities

Bid writing and AI – predictions and suggestions for Trusts and Foundations

By Alexander Stevenson

Spare a thought for Trusts and Foundations as they contemplate the impact of AI on bid writing. Much of the AI forecasting is focused on how charities might change their behavious.  But in many ways the impact for Trusts and Foundations is both harder to predict and potentially more consequential.  

This is not surprising.  As you’ll see from my hedging, lily-livered predictions below it is possible to envisage plausible, yet contradictory outcomes.



AI will level the playing field for bid writing.  Small charities who lack conventional bid-writing skills and/or capacity will be able to use AI to communicate what they are doing more effectively and efficiently.   


AI will make the playing field even more bumpy and uneven.  Better resourced charities will double down on their advantages by adopting AI technology earlier and paying for specialist products like AutogenAI.



AI will make bids less useful tools for allocating money. Bids written by AI will become homogenous making it harder for funders to spot the people and causes  who would most benefit from their support. 



AI will make bids more useful tools for allocating money.  Charities will spend more time communicating the distinguishing parts of their narrative because AI will have written up all the basics. 

But surely (at least in the short term)….

AI will increase the number of well written bids that foundations receive.   With the help of AI bid writers can produce coherent copy far more quickly so they are likely to write more of them..


Other than waiting for the fog to clear what can funders do now without betting too much on a particular outcome?

First, make bid-writing AI accessible to all charities.  This will give the level-playing field scenario the best chance of becoming reality.  Offer training on how to use AI to write bids (we are developing such training – contact us if you’re interested) and consider offering access to specialist products like AutogenAI to anybody submitting a bid to you. 

Secondly, look at alternatives to bids.  You may be doing this anyway but AI should give it a hefty nudge.  If the volume of bids increases and their utility decreases then funders will need to think of other ways to allocate money effectively.  Ask yourself how you would allocate money if bids didn’t exist.  For example you might invest more in proactively identifying great and overlooked charities rather than waiting for them to approach you.

Thirdly, investigate using AI (the machine learning branch) to process bids more rapidly.  Bids are data and the technology now exists to analyse and learn from large quantities of data.  Can this technology be harnessed to help funders as well as bid-writers?  For example I know of one foundation who are analysing all the bids they have received historically to see if they can identify patterns in language which distinguish the successful and unsuccessful bids.  


Additional resources

Other suggestions and indeed predictions are available from: 

  1. The Blume Webinar – how will AI change bid writing?
  2. Two resources mentioned in this webinar by Gemma Rocyn Jones from the National Lottery Community Fund: 
    1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations 'Guide to generative AI' 
    2. Zoe Amar’s 'AI Checklist'.

 If you want to have a go at using it yourself you can try: ‘Free AI Funding Bid Writing  for Charities’ provided by Charity Excellence Framework

And finally, sign up to our newsletter to be notified when our AI bid-writing training launches and to read some no doubt heavily revised predictions in the future...