By Kyle Behrend a seasoned not-for-profit professional dedicated to educating and empowering nonprofits with AI through NFPs.AI.

The nonprofit sector, often stretched for resources and expertise, is uniquely positioned to benefit from the efficiencies and opportunities offered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The successful implementation of AI-powered solutions in nonprofits has shown significant potential to enhance organisational efficiency.

These innovative tools are revolutionising tasks by saving hundreds of hours of manual work through aiding in campaign creation, categorising and drafting email responses, assisting with content creation, and even automating donation processes to personalise and enhance the donor experience.

Such efficiencies enable nonprofits to devote more time to achieving their mission.

While many nonprofits are keen to embrace AI they often find themselves unsure of where to begin. However, getting started with AI is far less daunting than it may initially appear. This article aims to demystify the process of adopting AI for nonprofits and show some of the advantages this technology can bring.

1) Unlock the Power of ChatGPT Plus

For nonprofits seeking to begin harnessing the power of AI, signing up for a ChatGPT Plus Plan can be a game-changer. With a cost of only $20 per month, this investment unlocks a suite of tools that significantly outweigh its cost.

The ChatGPT Plus Plan offers immense value. Along with access to the latest version, ChatGPT 4 Turbo, which is the most intelligent model available at the time of writing, it also provides access to an array of additional tools. DALLE, an image generation tool, Vision, an AI-driven image analysis tool, and Advanced Data Analysis provides the ability to upload a CSV file for AI to identify trends, create graphs, and generate reports. Additionally, nonprofits can create their own custom-trained GPT chatbot with their custom data. This enables the creation of a tailor-made AI assistant, specifically trained to understand and address your nonprofit’s unique needs.

Each of these tools could be the subject of its own article, and the internet abounds with resources on how to utilise them. However, the best starting point might be to engage with projects that spark joy. Whether it’s brainstorming a long-dreamed-of children’s book for your cause or exploring a campaign idea that’s been on the back burner, passion makes the process more enjoyable.

It’s important to remember, though, that mastering these tools takes practice. Results may not always be perfect, and it can be disheartening when outputs don’t meet expectations. Some individuals might try ChatGPT, encounter a subpar output, and give up. This brings us to our next point.

2) Master the Art of Prompting

Prompting is the language we use to communicate with Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT. Fortunately, you don’t need to learn coding or a new language. Communication is conducted in natural language, similar to how you would converse with a friend or colleague. However, there are some nuances to obtaining the highest quality output.

Consider ChatGPT as the most intelligent, knowledgeable, expert assistant you’ve ever had. But it’s their first day on the job. Provide enough context in a well-structured manner to ensure they can complete the task you ask of them. For instance, when requesting a fundraising email, providing ChatGPT with detailed information such as the organisation’s mission and vision, communication style guide, examples of previous fundraising emails, specific fundraising goals, and the tone you wish to convey will lead to a much more customised and effective result. This comprehensive approach ensures the generated content aligns closely with your organisation’s unique character and fundraising objectives.

To get the best output from ChatGPT and other LLMs follow the NFPs prompting framework:

N for “Needs”

Define the specific needs or actions, like “I need you to please help create a SWOT analysis for our organisation…” P.S. Being polite has shown to provide better output.

F for “Focus and Format”

Explain what to focus on and how you would like the output presented, such as “Focus on our organisation’s mission, programs, finances, and output in a table…”

P for “Persona”

Describe the ideal persona or role for the task, e.g., “Act like a strategic planning expert with vast experience in nonprofits… ”

S for “Samples”

Optionally provide samples that can guide the task, like “Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis we think would suit our needs…”

After providing background information on your nonprofit organisation such as the mission, programs, operations, and other key details, the full prompt would look like this:

For more insights on prompting, watch the 1-hour prompting webinar and access 30 prompts designed specifically for non-profits.

Remember that ChatGPT is an assistant providing an exceptional first draft. It’s your job to edit and refine the content, ensuring it meets your standards before publishing, keeping the human in the loop.

3) Implement an Organisation-Wide Policy

Implementing a comprehensive AI policy not only aligns everyone in your organisation but also opens the door for innovation. By allowing team members to express their perspectives on AI use, you foster a culture where creative ideas can surface, potentially leading to groundbreaking applications of AI in your work.

Such a policy ensures that AI tools are used in ways that support your organisation’s goals and are broadly accepted across the team. Remember, the first version of the policy doesn’t have to be perfect; initiating this conversation is key. You might be surprised to find out how many of your team members are already exploring AI solutions.

Establishing a policy creates a shared understanding and commitment to using AI responsibly and effectively. A policy should encompass the following key elements:

Transparent Usage: It is essential to communicate transparently about how your non-profit uses AI. Openness fosters trust and reassures your supporters about the handling of their data.

Team Unity: All staff and volunteers should understand and adhere to the same AI guidelines. Consistency is critical for the effective and ethical use of AI.

Collaborative Learning: Fostering a culture of shared learning about AI is beneficial. Encourage everyone in your organisation to contribute insights and collectively grow in their understanding of AI.

Regular Reviews: The world of AI is constantly evolving, and your policies should reflect this. Regularly review and update your guidelines to ensure they remain current and effective in managing AI within your organisation.

Download this AI policy template that you can customise for your organisation to leverage AI’s potential with confidence.

4) Start Small, Experiment, and Grow

The realm of AI technology is immense and brimming with potential. Google’s Sundar Pichai even likens AI’s significance to that of the creation of electricity. Even if AI advancements were to stop today, it would take years to explore all its applications.

Exploring AI in your nonprofit can lead to unexpected and innovative uses. Take, for instance, a case where an organisation initially developed a public-facing chatbot. However, they discovered that the AI sometimes created ‘hallucinations’ – generating information that didn’t exist. Recognising the risk this posed for public interaction, they repurposed the chatbot for internal use. This pivot turned a potential flaw into a powerful tool for idea generation and content creation. The ‘hallucinations’ sparked ideas for new initiatives and content gaps, while the AI’s training on the organisation’s existing data made it an invaluable asset for drafting preliminary outlines and content. This example illustrates the potential of AI to uncover unique solutions and opportunities within your nonprofit, even in unexpected ways.

Start by identifying a specific issue that AI could help solve, implement a solution, experiment, iterate and grow from there. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated; a simple prompt for ChatGPT that everyone can try can be a great starting point.

Remember, the goal is not to overhaul your entire organisation with AI, but to start integrating it where it makes sense to do so. Experiment, have fun, and take the first steps towards AI integration.

In a rapidly advancing tech world, waiting another 12 months to explore AI will mean missed opportunities. But it’s never too late to start. Today is the best day to begin your AI journey. Embrace the potential of AI, and look forward to the transformative benefits it can bring to your nonprofit. To get started, download NFPs.AI’s Introduction to AI for Nonprofits eBook.

A world of untapped potential is sitting at your fingertips.

**Image created using DALLE 3 through ChatGPT