AI Can Be the Social Impact Tool all Charities and Nonprofits Need

AI could act as both a savior and saint for charitable institutions...

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For the love of…robots? Artificial intelligence has made many people apprehensive about its ability to automate and disrupt our human communications and everyday lives. While some of us feel that we’ll be lacking in social connection and morality in the near future, AI might not be as threatening as we think. Instead, it could build a world of support. When it comes to giving back, AI could be a savior for organizations and nonprofits across the globe. According to Salesforce research, nonprofit trends indicate that the use of AI in the sector is expected to grow 361 percent in the next two years.

AI devices are learning more about us at accelerating rate, AI and its machine learning applications are proving their profound digital influence can help us transform our lives —  and surprisingly even provide us with a sense of humanity. 

AI is already embedded within our culture. We use it to browse through suggestions on Netflix, Amazon and more of our favorite websites. What happens when charities harness this power to make people more interested, involved, and giving towards charities like they are with shopping and entertainment platforms?

Charities can optimize and expand upon their communities and provide better operational strategies in at least three significant ways:

AI Increases our Knowledge and Awareness of Causes

Cognitive automation heightens the playing field in every major industry. As AI machines move inventory or perform surgeries, the abilities we have to improve our lives grows at an astounding rate. Operations, mapping and image recognition are examples of how AI can increase awareness or knowledge of a charity’s cause to either help prevent the issue or generate more donations.

For charitable and nonprofit organizations, this means that communities will become enriched with vast resources and databases of information. For example, banks and nonprofits use AI to prevent and stop human trafficking. The algorithm allows banks to quickly review records for suspicious activity, increasing awareness of possible human trafficking violations. For other causes like animal welfare, modeling and machine learning provide park rangers with the info to predict poachers actions. Other nonprofits use AI to identify patterns in land use via high-resolution images so they can more effectively improve conservation efforts.

AI chatbots also help inform others on healthcare issues like specific diseases. IBM Watson’s virtual assistant named “Arthy”, introduced by the nonprofit organization Arthritis Research UK lets patients, family members or the general public learn about the disease. Not only did it answer their questions about arthritis, but it also teaches them how it affects their everyday routines and suggests treatment options.

This type of data allows people to become more knowledgeable and informed about their decision to support a charity or cause. Hello!Vote and Resistbot, for instance, are voting tools that help keep citizens informed. The former offers the information you need to cast an informed vote, and the latter connects constituents to their elected officials. Additionally, charitable givers gain exposure to new information through real-world examples or educational and interactive games.

The more people become aware of the social, political movements and charitable causes, the more donors may be willing to help provide support.

Automated Tools Promote Fundraising

On top of increasing knowledge, cognitive technologies like AI also advances consumer engagement. Tools that utilize AI applications, like chatbots and virtual assistants (like Siri or Alexa), are becoming more popular in the home.  The Children’s Society, a charity that supports underserved children in England and Wales, ran a chatbot trail that offered fundraising information. Listeners received advice on how to create their own fundraisers and already had prepared answers to a list of fifty questions on the subject.

As a result, chatbots are becoming great resources for nonprofits and other social activists to engage with their communities and spearhead fundraising efforts. For example, Charity: Water is the first ever nonprofit to collect donations via a bot on Facebook Messenger. This could be incredibly beneficial as Salesforce reports that 88 percent of Millennials say they’re likely to give through Facebook fundraising tools in the future. Bots can help extend the reach of fundraising and the types of increase the diversity of demographics that become more aware of charity campaigns. 

Personalize and Create Actionable Insights

Cognitive insights also play a deeper role in the performance of company engagement and an organization’s overall mission to connect with donors through personalized and actionable insights. AI calculates and understands complex data sets via an approach called predictive analytics to make future recommendations that would otherwise be hard to configure, allowing charities and nonprofits to not only generate actionable advice or suggestions to the consumer. 

When it comes to predictive analytics, AI will determine what will happen next according to the user’s ability to freely choose which giving option makes them feel part of the conversation in a very personal way. For example, if a consumer decides to donate to a women’s education fund in Africa, it may suggest that the donor give back to orphans in Africa or a women’s healthcare fund. As a result, personalized recommendations help its charity members and new audiences build profound connections with the source material they view or the people with whom they interact.

Many organizations have collected data analytics on the amount of information that donors and supporters have garnered through campaigns. This includes past giving patterns, wealth data, and attendance to special events. Using informed technologies with cognitive insights allows users to better optimize and improve upon the ways they extend their support — financially and emotionally —  for causes of their choice. 

When it comes to marketing, engaged users allow charities to determine the next engagement steps and levels at which to engage in donor relationships. From personal messages to targeted marketing campaigns, predictive analytics helps asses the thought process (at least in terms of curiosity and passion) that is often crucial for strong alignment to charitable donors.

Donors no longer have to receive the same message through a moot medium. Cognitive insight that fosters engagement is the solution to a stagnant problem that has left people neutral, apathetic, or careless with their dedication to charitable solutions. In the meantime, automating marketing and outreach costs can save money-strapped charities the funds that they could spend on otherwise engaging a target audience. The opportunity to increase revenue streams highlights the efficiency that AI can offer charities in terms of insights into the human mind and the meaning behind the necessity of their charitable business.

Salesforce provides a “Journey Builder” tool which can help create a personalized journey for donors as communications are delivered based on actual data and insights, rather than generalized output. A startup called Gravyty uses advanced tech to predict which donors will make the largest gifts. As a result, emails are customized based on previous interactions to ensure that their shared value remains an essential part of their mission, while still making profound connections that go beyond a typical sales approach.

The benefits of AI will far outweigh the affordability that automation increases, especially in terms of operational efficiencies. AI will provide nonprofit organizations with swift and improved decision-making processes and actionable insights. While boosting engagement with donors, it can create customized engagement in hyperlocal spots or on a global scale. Hopefully, AI will allow charitable and nonprofit organizations to flourish and allow humankind to grow more empathetic and socially conscious in the process. 

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