As a volunteer board member of a mission-driven organization, you may be wondering how your organization can optimally leverage artificial intelligence (AI).
Mission-driven organizations are inherently adept at doing more with less, but AI has the potential to further enhance their efficiency, improve operations, and reduce costs — allowing these organizations to be a greater force for social good.
From gaining insights through data analysis to increasing efficiency, the potential impacts of AI are significant. When used effectively, it can help your board reach wider audiences and enhance your nonprofit’s programs as you work to address complex societal challenges.
Here, we’ll highlight some of the common ways your organization can use AI to further your mission. We’ll also touch on AI ethics and governance, and point out some of the AI challenges and considerations your board should take note of.
8 Ways Mission-Driven Organizations Can Utilize AI
Here are eight different ways your organization can tap into the power of AI.
1. Data Analysis
AI can analyze large amounts of data quickly, which an help inform important decisions. Boards and leaders can extract valuable insights from that data, and use it to improve the outcomes of their programs and services. Accurate data will also allow boards to allocate resources more effectively.
Data analyzed by AI can offer insight into donor characteristics, behavior and preferences, which can help nonprofits and charities identify which donors are most likely to support them. AI can also segment donor lists based on donor giving patterns, which makes it easier to target marketing efforts effectively.
3. Process Automation and Efficiency
AI can automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry and generating reports, to free up staff and volunteers for activities that require a human touch. AI can also reduce errors and eliminate redundancies.
4. Personalized Outreach and Engagement
Generative AI can help nonprofits create effective messaging and personalized appeals, as well as identify the best channels for reaching various target audiences. Such communication helps to strengthen your organization’s connections with its stakeholders. You can also use AI to create persuasive email campaigns that encourage donations.
5. Predictive Modeling for Impact
AI uses historical data to predict future outcomes and trends. For example, you can use AI and predictive modeling to lend insight into why donors start or stop giving, what makes programs and services succeed or fail, and much more.
6. Sentiment Analysis
Machine learning and natural language processing can analyze the sentiment of donor communications and label them as positive, negative, or neutral, which can also help you assess donor engagement.
7. AI-Powered Chatbots
Chatbots can engage donors and volunteers around the clock, boosting efficiency by answering common questions without a person having to man the phones. AI can also create human-like responses to prompts based on “if-and-then” rules. In addition, chatbots can help encourage site visitors to make a donation.
8. Social Media Content Creation
AI can help generate engaging, relevant content for social media channels within seconds.
To learn more about implementing AI in mission-driven organizations, download our free guide to Streamlining AI for Mission-Driven Organizations.
Examples of Mission-Driven Organizations Leveraging AI for Success
Wondering what AI implementation looks like in practice for nonprofits? Here are some real examples of how mission-driven organizations are successfully leveraging AI:
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital used AI to analyze existing donor data and found that telling the stories of real patients was the most effective way to achieve its mission and grow donations. Using cost-per-acquisition bidding on Google ads, they’ve had a significant increase in new donors. New donors now constitute a fourth of their total YouTube donation revenue.
- The National Geographic Society uses AI-powered image recognition software to catalog thousands of images, making it easy for the marketing department to retrieve them. Now they can quickly pull up specific images when creating fundraising campaigns which reduces many hours of labor.
- Amnesty International combined AI technology with crowdfunding to establish an army of digital volunteers who detect online abuse against women, in a project called Troll Patrol. Their efforts led to the creation of a representative sample of abusive tweets, which were sent to 1,000 female politicians and journalists to advocate against domestic violence over the course of a year.
- ARMMAN, a nonprofit based in India, built an AI-based predictive model that evaluated the risk of expectant mothers who were likely to drop out of telehealth outreach programs. The program identified women at risk and sent voicemails describing preventative care to the expectant mothers’ mobile phones. Their efforts resulted in a 32% reduction in the risk of women dropping out of the program.
Ensuring Ethical AI Strategies
Some common ethical considerations have come to light as AI technology has evolved. Boards must provide oversight of ethical AI as part of responsible governance.
Here are some common AI concerns for boards to be aware of:
- Bias and Fairness: Human biases make their way into AI systems, which can negatively impact outcomes. It’s important to understand the potential for bias, establish anti-bias standards and test models.
- Transparency and Accountability: AI tools are complex and nontransparent. Aim to make AI algorithms understandable and transparent to understand how AI makes decisions and who is accountable for outcomes.
- Informed Consent: It’s important to inform users that your organization uses AI, and give them the option to opt out of AI data collection.
- Job Displacement: Staff and employees may be concerned about losing their jobs. Utilizing AI may require you to retrain or reskill workers to redistribute talent.
Challenges and Considerations for Using AI
While AI can improve efficiency and help nonprofits achieve their missions, it also presents challenges and limitations.
Boards must provide continual oversight of AI initiatives and ensure AI systems align with the organization’s core values.
Here are some of the issues boards should consider when implementing AI:
- AI doesn’t always consider the context as it applies to mission-driven information, and it isn’t capable of applying common sense. Human oversight will help overcome this obstacle.
- AI can only use existing information, so it cannot create novel ideas, apply reasoning, or form opinions. Again, human oversight is a crucial element in a successful AI strategy.
- Boards must be concerned with data privacy. AI systems should account for user privacy to ensure the organization complies with global data privacy regulations. Boards must also ensure that data connected to individuals is erased or encrypted to protect privacy.
- AI systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks because they contain massive amounts of data, and boards should consider the strength of AI systems security.
AI Resources for Nonprofits
Here are several AI resources, tools and educational materials that can help you ensure the smooth implementation of this fast-evolving technology:
- Chatbot – Chatbot software for nonprofits.
- ChatGPT – A chatbot created by OpenAI that understands and generates human-like text.
- Microsoft AI for Humanitarian Action – Microsoft offers AI for Humanitarian Action grants.
- IBM AI for Good – AI products and solutions for nonprofit organizations.
- Salesforce AI – Tools to drive productivity and personalization with generative AI, using the Salesforce platform.
- Google’s AI for Social Good – Partnerships with researchers, engineers and volunteers who share a focus on social impact.
Next Steps for Implementing AI
AI is a new concept for many boards. When approached with careful planning and intention, it can have a positive impact on social good. The board’s role in AI governance is to ensure proper security, mitigate risks, promote ethical use, and oversee its management. and It’s a role that must be taken seriously.
A good first step in implementing AI is to clearly define the use cases and establish the outcomes you want to see. Take time to explore and identify the right AI partners and tools. You must also have a good understanding of how AI systems collect data, and how AI impacts security and data privacy. Consider how you can employ humans to augment and oversee AI systems. Lastly, be sure to evaluate the risks and develop a plan to mitigate them.
Use Technology to Stay On Top of AI Governance
AI integrations are taking place in mission-driven organizations already, and it’s important for boards to keep on top of AI governance along the way. BoardEffect was designed explicitly for boards of mission-driven organizations. It is a secure board solution that features tools to enhance collaboration and communication.
With board technology like BoardEffect, your board has secure access to meeting materials and collaboration tools while you develop your ethics and governance stance for the use of AI in your organization. You can store AI use cases and concepts to use to train board members. Your board can also use your board management system to create, review, and update AI policies and procedures.
BoardEffect gives your board and leaders controlled access to board materials, as your organization develops its ethics and governance stance for AI. BoardEffect’s customizable reporting allows you to effortlessly gather information about AI ethics and governance, while creating reports to inform your board. Request a demo today to learn how BoardEffect can support your mission-driven organization’s efforts.