Best AI Uses For Nonprofits

by | May 29, 2024

So much has been written about AI, it can be hard to know what to think! We checked in with our resident tech expert Danielle Pinto for her thoughts on AI’s applications for nonprofits.

Spoiler alert — it’s neither good nor bad. But there are some cautions …

Can you share some of the AI applications you think are most exciting for nonprofits?

  1. The most exciting use of AI for a nonprofit is in image and graphic manipulation. I should emphasize: not image generation, but manipulation. Here is a simple example: Say you have a photo of a person you would like to feature in a piece of media, but the photo has something in the background that would make the photo unusable. Normally, you would need a photoshop expert to carefully remove the object and recreate what might have been behind it. That can be a time consuming and expensive process. Now, you can simply circle the object and in one click, have AI remove and fill in where the object was. Keep an eye out for this same functionality for videos coming soon.
  2. Another use case for AI, which is already in use behind the scenes, is in spelling, grammar correction and predictive text. A great way to have cleaner copy, faster.
  3. From a data perspective, AI will be extremely helpful in quickly analyzing large datasets using human language requests to generate charts and filters. For example, Microsoft Copilot is rolling out to Excel (currently available to business users). You can type something simple like “create a chart showing subscriber retention rates from June 2021 through June 2023” and the AI will generate the chart for you. You can also add columns and perform calculations on data, again using human language. Instead of using excel commands, you could use a command like “Create a third column adding together the first two columns.” The following article explores more uses of the Excel Copilot feature:

Does anything cause you concern about AI?

Currently, the biggest concern with AI is copyright issues. AI cannot currently be relied on to provide 100% truthful data. It is getting better, but make sure to always fact-check any data returned by an AI. If it gives you links to where it found the data, skim through those links and make sure it is correct. AI is fantastic at leading you in directions but be careful not to blindly listen to it.

Overall, though, I’m not too concerned with the use of AI. AI can absolutely be used to infringe copyright or generate imagery that is a replica of another artist’s work. However, like all technology, it is up to us to use it responsibly. AI is best as an assistive technology to speed up tasks which normally may take hours, days, or even longer and have it done in seconds. We are currently using AI to moderate large volumes of content that is submitted by users on websites. We still need humans, but this is a great way to save time.


What would you advise nonprofits to get started using AI?

Don’t be afraid of AI. Dip your toe in ChatGPT and see the results it produces. Learning the prompts and exploring its potential is a great way to have AI solve problems for you.

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