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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

The transformative role of AI in the nonprofit sector

ai for nonprofits

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a potent driver for change in several industries in recent years, and the nonprofit sector is no different.

According to, only 28% of firms genuinely use AI, although 89% of them think it would boost productivity. 

AI has a huge potential impact on nonprofits; in order to properly use this technology, organizations must negotiate the benefits and problems it presents.

Key benefits of AI for nonprofits

Positively, AI has the power to completely transform the way organizations function and carry out their missions. One notable benefit is data analytics, where AI systems are able to examine enormous volumes of data in order to find trends, patterns and insights. 

By utilizing this potential, nonprofits can improve their decision-making procedures and more effectively and efficiently distribute resources.

AI has the potential to revolutionize fundraising endeavors as well. Nonprofits can increase their chances of getting donations by more precisely targeting potential contributors with the use of AI-powered predictive analytics. Organizations can improve fundraising campaigns and strengthen relationships with supporters by tailoring their outreach efforts based on analysis of donor behavior and preferences.

One such group that has managed to blend AI with philanthropy is Fundraising.AI, an independent collaborative of thought leaders in the space that seeks to bridge this gap in the fundraising space. Fundraising.AI envisions creating a flourishing fundraising industry where the ethical and inclusive use of AI in fundraising would optimize its beneficial effects on local communities and global issues. The objective is to furnish fundraisers with the resources to properly embrace AI technologies.

AI can improve internal procedures in addition to fundraising, freeing up nonprofits to concentrate more on their primary goals. Routine chores like data entry and administrative work can be automated to free up time and resources for more productive uses, including developing new programs and engaging the community.

What are the risks of AI?

However, it's important to be aware of any potential risks AI may provide to the nonprofit sector. One concern is that it might exacerbate existing inequities.

Biases in the data that AI systems use for training may carry over into the results, as could any biases of the people who create those systems. In order to make sure that their AI applications do not unintentionally perpetuate social gaps, nonprofits must be diligent in addressing these prejudices.

An article by Forbes reported, “Nonprofits enjoy a greater level of trust than most other sectors—trust that can be undermined when a donor receives an artificial-sounding letter or learns that sensitive personal data was shared with a third-party vendor.”

The moral application of AI in decision-making presents another difficulty. When deploying AI systems that impact important choices, nonprofits have to consider issues of accountability and transparency. Sustaining stakeholder trust requires striking the correct balance between ethical issues and technological innovation.

A vision for AI in nonprofits

Nonprofits can employ AI to further their causes in creative ways despite these obstacles. Chatbots with AI capabilities, for example, can improve interaction and communication within the communities they support. The reach and impact of charitable endeavors can be increased using virtual assistants, who can offer resources, support and information in real time.

Predictive modeling powered by AI can also improve the efficacy of social impact initiatives. Nonprofits can create interventions that more fully address social concerns by examining a variety of datasets to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying causes of these challenges.

Organizations can continuously improve their influence on the communities they serve by adjusting and fine-tuning their plans based on real-time insights, thanks to this data-driven approach.

There are a lot of opportunities for positive change when AI is included in the charitable sector. Artificial Intelligence has the ability to completely transform nonprofit operations, from data analytics and fundraising to community involvement and program development. Organizations must, however, carefully consider the ethical issues raised by AI and make sure that their use of technology is consistent with their commitment to social impact and core values.

Image by Lillian Finley

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