Hi CAAE members!

Protopia’s AI accelerates giving by delivering impactful, personalized alumni and donor experiences at scale. Without another app or lots of staff time.

Hi – Max here, Founder and CEO at Protopia.

I am very excited to be the newest partner of CAAE because we built Protopia to make it easy for large institutions to get their alumni to volunteer. All of them (hear me out). 

The average professional uses 35 different apps a day, and like most universities you’ve seen adoption of your alumni portals plateau at 5-7%. Your die-hard supports will use everything you’ve got, but the silent majority is sitting on the sidelines, looking for ways to engage that fit their busy lives. 

So we sat down with the teams at Duke and NC State (we’re based in Raleigh, so super easy trip) to re-think alumni engagement. What are barriers to engagement? When it’s human nature to lean on each other (after all, helping someone feels awesome), why is there not more of it? What’s in the way? 

And we built just that. First, there’s nothing new to sign up for because that takes precious time. Then there’s nothing new to use or learn, just the tools your alumni and students already use (such as email, Slack, or SMS). You already have a platform and likely don’t want to ask alumni to use something else (fewer and fewer will …). 

Next, there’s no directory or “faces” that make reaching out intimidating (besides problematic biases and the lack of participation by non-traditional alumni and students). We focused on the most-basic needs to minimize friction: your alumni community is the largest professional network you’ll ever be a part of, so it should be very simple and compelling to “tap that network” when you need help. 

With Protopia all they have to do complete a quick form with a “need” and our AI will find and recruit the best, available alumni to assist (and it works until we’ve got answers as we heard over and over again that at most 50% of alumni responded – super frustrating). Oh, and they also shared that they’d like to hear back from multiple alumni when they do ask.

Then alumni shared that they need autonomy over if and how to help, that saying “no” feels terrible. Sometimes it’s just a bad time and they can’t help. So we’re recruiting blindly, and let alumni guiltfree decide if they can or cannot assist – and move on to the next-best alum. 

Last, but not least, we heard that alumni and development teams don’t want the same alumni to engage but rather graduates that have never or not recently raised their hand. So we built machine learning algorithms that recruit a balance portfolio of alumni, including “not active”, “most-likely to respond”, “same gender”, “nearby alum”, and even “member of the same campus group.” Which of course dynamically changes based on need, community, time of day, etc. 

There’s a lot more we’ve built to make connecting to each other simple and humane – I’d love to show you. Speak to the teams at Duke and NC State about their partnership with Protopia, or send me an email to max@protopia.co to find a time to see what we do live. 

Stay well!



Protopia’s artificial intelligence technology makes it simple for everyone in your community to connect. Without another app. 

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