Artificial intelligence (AI) is seeing remarkable adoption across industries, including nonprofits. However, some nonprofits are reluctant to adopt AI due to concerns about potential risks, from data security to ethical dilemmas. With a strategic and human-centered approach, nonprofits can embrace AI deliberately and responsibly to create efficiencies within certain roles and functions, allowing them to spend more time on their mission and impact.

Fundraising and Donor Engagement 

Use generative AI to create and edit drafts of grant proposals and reports. Several donor management software solutions have begun to incorporate AI to help users segment and analyze their donors, helping to tailor the content and cadence of their outreach. With the right data, predictive analytics can help nonprofits identify potential high-value donors and the best time to approach them. Additionally, chatbots can be used to respond to donors and constituents in certain situations, such as by answering frequently asked questions.  

Program Optimization and Impact Measurement 

Stay on top of trends and emerging issues with AI tools that analyze social and economic data. Use the information to allocate resources where they are needed most and identify potential shortcomings. Using AI, organizations can analyze large data sets to illustrate program effectiveness.

Administrative Functions  

Ease the burden of volunteer recruitment and management with software that helps match volunteers with opportunities based on their skillsets and preferences. AI can also help schedule volunteers more efficiently. Managing documents and data is simpler with AI as it can quickly organize and retrieve information. AI can help make an organization’s resources more accessible to users with language translation, screen readers and voice assistants. 

Risks and Ethical Considerations

AI provides enormous opportunity, but it is important to understand and prepare for potential risks. Data privacy practices are key. Review the terms and conditions of software before inputting any sensitive information. Determine whether an AI solution retains or shares your data with others.

AI technology is created by humans, which means it may share some of the same biases humans have. Consider who may be excluded or misrepresented in the data used. The technology may also provide information that is inaccurate, depending on its data source, so fact-checking and proofreading are essential. While AI tools can be helpful, they must also be monitored and managed. Think about the skills, training and staff required to maintain the tools effectively.

Adopt a responsible use policy outlining how you will use AI in a way that aligns with your values, protects your data and works to combat bias and harm. Also consider your stakeholders when using AI. Think about how a donor or stakeholder would feel if they learned you were using AI. 

Getting Started

AI is here to stay. With a clear objective and responsible use, it could be impactful for your nonprofit organization. Build your infrastructure, identify the right tools and train your staff on the new technology. There are a variety of organizations that offer free or low-cost training and other resources for nonprofits seeking to adopt AI. Start small and regularly evaluate the tools you use.

Because so much of nonprofit work is about relationship-building, technology will not replace the need for people in these roles. However, AI may relieve some of the administrative burden for nonprofit workers, allowing them to spend more time on their core mission.

To learn more, visit