Generative AI: Why nonprofits should use and learn it

I’ve been using ChatGPT (OpenAI’s conversational chat application) since it came out in late 2022, both in work and personal contexts. It should be obvious to anyone whose experimented with it how its a leap in web call/search and response capability. It’s a “game changer”. That said, let’s ensure technology remains just a sidekick, not the superior.

Nonprofits: Get involved

As a nonprofit, with public benefit at the heart of your mission, influencing the future use of this technology matters. Please, advocate for human-centred approach to adopting Generative AI. Others may not be so included. Use Generative AI. Experiment with it. Learn from your experience. Participate in the political conversations around its regulation.

I’d rather Generative AI stay a sidekick to us humans and not be the one in charge.

For a take on keeping technology real, human, Ursula Franklin was a global role model.

ChatGPT – what and how

ChatGPT is a product created by OpenAI. (Not unexpectedly, there are many vendors developing and training the large language models required by Generative AI. An arms race.). Microsoft has partnered with OpenAI. From Microsoft:

TechSoup, the go-to tech resource for nonprofits, ran an insightful webinar on how ChatGPT can help support your mission. I got a lot out of viewing it. The presenters were diverse. Each offered a different learning. One I took to heart is that “ChatGPT is a method actor, and you need to give it it’s motivation.” Prompt ChatGPT with who you are (or want to be), give it some backstory. The response will be better, contextual.

Here’s that TechSoup webinar:

Using ChatGPT

In a nonprofit context, I’ve used ChatGPT to problem-solve, draft plans, draft correspondence, summarize content, populate lists and tables… ChatGPT is conversational. It’s ability to coherently respond is appreciated, from a communications perspective. (Note: I have not experimented much with other Generative AI tools).
For this blog post, I asked ChatGPT:

From a human-centered and political influence perspective, what are five reasons why nonprofits should use and learn generative AI?

ChatGPT’s response (in less than five seconds):
“From a human-centered and political influence perspective, here are five reasons why nonprofits should use and learn generative AI:
  1. Amplified Advocacy Efforts: Generative AI can create compelling narratives and persuasive content that amplify the nonprofit’s advocacy efforts. By generating impactful stories, infographics, videos, and social media posts, AI helps nonprofits effectively communicate their message to policymakers, stakeholders, and the public. This increased visibility can drive policy changes and garner greater support for their causes.
  2. Enhanced Data Analysis for Policy Influence: AI can process and analyze vast amounts of data to identify trends, correlations, and insights that support evidence-based advocacy. Nonprofits can use these insights to craft well-informed policy recommendations and position papers. This data-driven approach can make their arguments more convincing to legislators and other decision-makers, enhancing their political influence.
  3. Strategic Campaign Management: Generative AI can optimize campaign strategies by predicting outcomes and suggesting the most effective tactics. For example, AI can analyze past campaign data to forecast the best times to launch initiatives, identify key influencers, and tailor messages for maximum impact. This strategic use of AI can increase the effectiveness of advocacy campaigns, mobilizing greater public and political support.
  4. Strengthened Public Engagement and Mobilization: AI-driven tools can help nonprofits create personalized and engaging content that resonates with diverse audiences. By leveraging AI to understand audience preferences and behaviors, nonprofits can mobilize supporters more effectively. Engaged and mobilized supporters are crucial for grassroots movements and can exert significant pressure on political entities to act on the nonprofit’s agenda.
  5. Real-Time Monitoring and Rapid Response: Generative AI can monitor social media, news outlets, and other information sources in real-time, alerting nonprofits to relevant developments and public sentiment shifts. This capability allows nonprofits to respond quickly to emerging issues, shape public discourse, and seize opportunities to influence policy debates. Timely interventions can be critical in swaying political decisions and maintaining momentum in advocacy efforts.

By integrating generative AI into their operations, nonprofits can enhance their advocacy, mobilization, and strategic capabilities, ultimately increasing their political influence and advancing their missions more effectively.”

What are your big takeaways so far from using Generative AI?

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