Nonprofit Organizations and AI: The Benefits & The Risks

AI software is not just something we see in Tony Stark’s office in Iron Man anymore. AI tools have been the talk of the town during the past year, specifically ChatGPT. Of course, there’s a good reason for that – just a few years ago, we assumed that artificial intelligence would become a reality in the distant future. Now, we’re faced with it, and we can see the benefits that it brings to both our daily lives and to our businesses.

In this article, instead of focusing on small businesses, we’re going to talk about how AI solutions might completely change the game for nonprofit organizations. Anyone, who’s ever worked for a nonprofit or has volunteered to help one, knows that these kinds of establishments are typically always in search of resources, time, and money. AI can help solve at least two out of these three problems.

What you can expect to learn from this article:

  • Why AI solutions might redefine the way nonprofits work
  • How AI processes can make nonprofits more efficient
  • How artificial intelligence can help a nonprofit reach its goals

Don’t worry – this won’t be some boring explanation as to how great AI is. Instead, we will get practical and show you exactly how you can use AI in the daily operations of your nonprofit.

Why AI Solutions Can Redefine the Way Nonprofit Organizations Work

This conversation often raises a ton of questions as to how Al’s functionality might impact our professions, in both a positive and negative way. Can AI replace humans entirely? We certainly don’t think so!

Once you explore the benefits it offers fully, you will see that AI solutions can actually have a positive influence on nearly all industries, and that includes nonprofits.

A recent study stated that 89% of nonprofit workers believe AI can make an organization more efficient by expanding its impact and enhancing the services it offers. Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons why nonprofits should look forward to using artificial intelligence.

1. Automate Time-Consuming Tasks

As of now, AI can’t replace what a human can do – it can work with loads of data, but it cannot be creative or make decisions independently. In a sense, AI can help elevate the work you do, not replace you. Thanks to its ability to analyze vast amounts of data, AI can help your decision-making process by giving you more of the required information. Additionally, it can remove the burden of having to do tedious administrative work such as monitoring financial transactions or looking for discrepancies in data.

Regarding fundraising campaigns, AI can forecast trends and predict donor behavior, helping you adjust your campaigns to your audience without having to spend hours, even days, analyzing data.

Here’s the kicker: by removing the need for doing monotonous work, AI gives you back time where you can let your creative mind flow and come up with new and better ways to organize the work of your nonprofit. This opens up more time for you to spend on building relationships – both with staff and with donors.

2. Accessible and Easy to Integrate

Most AI software is still free, and that includes big players in the game, such as Bing or ChatGPT. However, the statistics show that only 23% of nonprofits currently use AI solutions. Historically, nonprofits usually adopt new technologies at a much slower pace compared to corporations and small businesses, but you can help drive the change toward simpler solutions with AI tools.

A few years ago AI software was not exclusively built for AI specialists, data scientists, and engineers. In fact, the new-age solutions we have access to now can be used by anyone – even students! Additionally, even if you choose to opt for paid software – the prices are affordable and accessible, especially for a nonprofit.

3. Find Hidden Value In Your Data

Most nonprofits typically have quite a lot of data to work with, and it’s usually spread around numerous Excel files. In the best-case scenario, the data is organized in a CRM (customer relationship management). Regardless of which method your nonprofit currently uses, we’re willing to bet you don’t always have the time to sift through all that data.

That’s where AI comes in. It enables you to understand data in a more meaningful way by going through the database and finding trends and patterns that can be useful for improving your campaigns and programs!

Additionally, AI tools can help you identify your top donors, enabling you to create better marketing campaigns and strengthening your fundraising performance.

How AI Processes Can Make Nonprofit Organizations More Efficient

One of the main goals of a nonprofit organization is to raise money, which is mostly done through various fundraising campaigns. AI can come in handy when it comes to enhancing your fundraising approach by giving you a more detailed overview of the patterns that can be detected in your donation data. It can factor in the relationship with each support and predict likely behaviors on individual levels. These insights can help you create more targeted campaigns that provide better returns through something called “smarter segmentation”.

Smart Segmentation – Data Analytics

Most companies and organizations, including nonprofits, segment their donors into specific groups based on the data they have. If you’re not doing it already, then this is your sign to start, and it’s a perfect time to learn how to include AI in your process! You can begin by creating segments of donors who all have similar donating behaviors. Such as those who give regularly, but aren’t a part of your monthly giving program or who share a particular social status or wealth.

Segmentation is an excellent strategy for both marketing and fundraising because it enables you to put your focus and money on donors who share similar characteristics, and it allows you to create specialized campaigns that will drive them to take action. Without the use of AI, segmentation has its limitations, since it’s incapable of making predictions. Instead, it simply puts people together based on actions they’ve taken in the past.

Machine learning takes guessing out of the equation; when you integrate AI with your data, you will be able to constantly access a list of your donors and filter based on propensity scores or create perfect campaign messages for a particular segment. By making a targeted effort, you increase the likelihood of that group of donors participating, thus increasing your conversation rates and ultimately raising more money.

How Smarter Segmentation Makes Your Nonprofit More Efficient

Now that we’ve broken down what smarter segmentation is and the potential benefits it brings, let’s look at some of the specific examples of it at work within a nonprofit organization:

  • Predicting donor churn – Acquiring new donors is typically more expensive than maintaining a relationship with your current ones. With the help of AI tools, you can study your past data and use it to make predictions about who’s likely to churn or lapse. These quick insights will help you see the overall effectiveness of your stewardship strategies and show you which donors might be in need of extra attention.
  • Improving mail response rates – As we’ve already mentioned, AI can help you create more targeted approaches for your different donor segments. By looking at historical rates and engagement, AI can show you future predictions and point you to the exact donors who are more likely to respond to your letters.
  • Enhancing Major Gift Fundraising Strategies – Large-scale gift fundraising and capital campaigns usually need highly focused strategies. Accurate predictions and deep insights from AI software can provide you with a head start for prospecting, cultivating, and soliciting major gifts from the donors who are most likely to respond to your outreach.

Social Media Impact

Being active on social media is key for any organization that wants to be successful. These days, 95% of brands and nonprofit organizations have an account on at least one social media platform and, more often than not, that presence brings a certain amount of success with it.

With that said, maintaining a social media profile is not an easy task. It requires a lot of time and creativity, which are already being spent in other areas of your organization. This is where an AI tool like chatGPT or Bing can help! Instead of spending hours trying to come up with social media content, you can simply ask artificial intelligence to write one for you based on your tailored prompts. From there, you can make the edits you deem necessary and publish it online. Along with that, a tool like chatGPT or Bing can create a posting schedule for your nonprofit – that way, you won’t have to spend time crafting one on your own or worrying if you are posting enough.

Reduces The Administrative Burden

Imagine a world where you have an assistant to do all of the time-consuming, monotonous tasks like organizing, reporting, and scheduling. All of these tedious but necessary tasks for any operations. But with AI to assist your assistant, the time burden is significantly diminished.

AI tools can automate a lot of “point and click” tasks, giving you time to do the work that brings more benefits to the nonprofit. Many leaders use AI to streamline financial processes – categorizing accounting data and facilitating data collection that can be done automatically. Along with that, AI can detect issues in CRM data and even work as a customer service bot that responds to basic questions volunteers and donors ask!

ChatGPT Prompts that Can Enhance the Operations of a Nonprofit

A lot of the issues nonprofits face come from the fact that they’re often under-resourced – sometimes that means a lack of people, other times a lack of time or money. Don’t worry, our favorite four-letter word is FREE! Here are some prompts to give free AI tools (like chatGPT or Bing) to help your nonprofit organizations complete some key tasks and make your operation more efficient.

Write Your Donation Page

The copy used for a donation page is usually pretty generic, and it doesn’t really require a lot of creativity. That’s why chatGPT can be a fantastic helper when it comes to writing one for your organization. For example, I went into the tool and simply typed “write me a donation page,” an inquiry that got me a significant page of text.

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

If you decide that’s too generic, you can give feedback to the AI and tell it which kind of specifics to incorporate. For the sake of our example, we requested that it transform the text into one related to a nonprofit dedicated to helping dogs find shelter.

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

Of course, you will quickly notice that the tool uses quite a generic template, but by providing it with feedback and sharing more specifics, ChatGPT can make it more aligned with your nonprofit’s needs. You can also ask for a specific length – typically, the tool provides you with the longest answer possible, a strategy that might not fit your personal views on how a donation page should look.

However, if you ask it to shorten the word count, it can quickly do so:

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

Additionally, you can ask the tool to include all the details about your nonprofit in the prompt. That includes things like its name, address, contact information, etc. The AI is very susceptible to feedback, and it adjusts its output according to what you need.

Create an Email Outreach Campaign

If you think that writing a donation page is impressive, just wait until you see all the other ways you. In fact, we’d argue that it’s hard to write one that people even want to read all the way through!

In a nonprofit organization, more often than not, you will have to conduct email outreach campaigns to encourage donors to join your cause or to donate again. And if you don’t have the time to prepare your message or you’re simply facing writer’s block, then ChatGPT can give you a hand.

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

As you can see from this example, we simply asked the AI to come up with a short email to donors, and it quickly gave us a template to follow.

But that’s not the only way it can help you out. We know that the subject line is one of the most important parts of an engaging email; it’s the crucial factor for whether or not someone will open your message. And, you guessed it, ChatGPT can help with that as well.

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

Here, we asked the tool to give me a list of engaging email subject lines for dog shelter donations. It gave ten good suggestions, but what’s even better is that you can choose the one you like the most and ask it to write an entire email based on it!

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

Sure, it’s not a revolutionary piece of copywriting. Still, it gives you a great starting point, and you can always enhance this initial content, using your knowledge of your donors and specific goals with the campaign. The main idea is that it saves you the brain power that it would have taken to come up with the ideas and outline.

Generate Social Media Content

We already mentioned this, but in today’s world, you have to have an online presence by being active on social media. The problem with that is that creating and regularly posting on any platform requires quite a bit of time and effort – resources that nonprofits typically struggle to find.

When it comes to creating social media posts, ChatGPT can help out quite a bit – not only with a full-on copy but also with fun ideas. Below, we asked the tool to write a post for a “walk a dog” event we plan to have.

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

As you can see, it does a terrific job of providing a template that you can customize to your liking. Additionally, as mentioned in the above examples, you can ask chatGPT to shorten the prompt so that it fits the word count on particular social media platforms (such as TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter). Of course, if you give the tool more details about what you want the post to say, it will incorporate your requirements.

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

Along with that, you can ask the tool to use a particular tone of voice that fits your organization’s vibe.

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

For this example, we choose a humorous and conversational tone, but you can also pick others, including:

  • Formal
  • Casual
  • Sarcastic
  • Inspirational
  • Persuasive
  • Academic

Another difficulty most nonprofit organizations face is having a social media posting schedule. More than posting just once or twice in a blue moon is usually required to solidify a social media presence, and creating a plan that brings results requires research and is often time-consuming. Thankfully, you can ask chatGPT to do the job for you.

B0171,AI for nonprofit organizations,ai solutions,ai processes,ai tool

The tool gave us a 7-day schedule made specifically for Instagram, but of course, by giving it feedback, you can tailor the schedule according to your needs and the platform you want to use. Nonetheless, it still gives you a terrific starting point.

Best Practices for Using AI for Nonprofit Organizations

Hopefully the examples we gave above showed you exactly how you can use an AI tool like ChatGPT (or Bing or any other type of AI-based tool) to optimize the work you do in a nonprofit organization. With that said, in order to make your work as efficient as possible, we would like to give you a few tips on how to get the most relevant and accurate responses from any AI tool:

  • Specific and clear: when writing your request, be as specific as possible about the outcome you want to receive. Provide all the needed context and information and any details you deem relevant.
  • Natural language: write similarly to the way you talk – don’t overcomplicate things!
  • Don’t be vague: Don’t write prompts that are open-ended or vague; they will more often than not lead to strange or irrelevant responses.
  • Give examples: If and when you can, give the tool context with the help of well-known examples.
  • Review and re-adjust: The more you review and refine your prompt, the better response you will get. So make sure always to fact-check and polish out the content the tool gives you.

What Not To Do With AI Tools

At first, you might get excited about creating content with the help of AI – after all, it’s incredibly quick and efficient. But it’s good to remember that it has its limitations.

You have to keep in mind that ChatGPT and other similar tools only give you output as good as the data they already have. That means that it can’t really distinguish resources, and if the training data is inaccurate or outdated, the AI can’t edit it. This is extremely important if you decide to ask chatGPT to write about an event that happened recently – the tool was trained on data prior to 2021, so any recent events are out of reach.

Along with that, it’s good to remember that as a nonprofit organization, you need to keep your human voice and feel. An AI tool can help you be more efficient with your work, but it cannot replace the emotion you can pour into the content you create or the work you do. It’s vital to remember to balance the content between one created mainly by AI and one that a person writes. The first one is great for generic text, such as event invitations or product descriptions, but the second one is the key to getting people emotionally involved and connected with your cause.

Common Concerns With Using AI Software

It’s clear that AI tools can be tremendously helpful and if used correctly, can make us more efficient and overall better at our work. That’s the reason why both businesses and people are investing time and resources into onboarding AI software and learning how to use it. With all of that said, there are some valid concerns about using artificial intelligence in a business environment, and we’d like to go over them.

Bias & Discrimination

AI software is only as good as the data it’s trained on. Unfortunately, if that data is biased or contains biases, then artificial intelligence will also be prone to bias. Sometimes this can lead to discriminatory outcomes or decisions and damage your nonprofit organization’s reputation. In order to avoid such situations, it’s vital to remember to always go through all of the information you get from any AI software and to fact-check it before putting it to use.

Security Risks

As AI shows more and more ability to handle and work with large volumes of data, it’s also becoming increasingly targeted by online hackers. One successful attack attempt can lead to theft or loss of sensitive information, which can have severe consequences, even
for a nonprofit organization. One way to minimize the risk is to input into AI software only the data it’s absolutely vital for it to know.

Legal Risks

You have to keep in mind that as AI develops, the laws and regulations related to it will also evolve. As the usage of AI continues to grow, governments and regulators will likely start to come up with regulations and laws related to data security, data privacy, and bias in AI systems. It’s a good idea to keep your eyes and ears open to these changes, as not complying with the law may lead to legal and financial penalties.

Adopting AI Tools Into Your Nonprofit Organization

The reality is that we should embrace this change in the way we work and try to use it to the best of our ability. More often than not, when we look at things positively and dedicate ourselves to getting the best possible outcome, we achieve even more than we initially wanted to.

When it comes to nonprofits, the usage of AI will most likely help you find more free time to do important tasks and will elevate the burden of always struggling to find resources for different tasks.

In case you want to get even more insight into the world of artificial intelligence, head on over and explore our other blogs on the subject. As it keeps on rising, we won’t stop paying attention to it – so expect even more thought-provoking AI content from us.

Posted in
Tags: ,
Share to...