A report by Pwrdby.com reveals some interesting insights about how the nonprofit sector views AI.

The research shows that 73% of nonprofits believe AI innovation aligns with their values, while 75% believe AI makes their organization’s work easier. More importantly, it showed that 83% of nonprofits believe they need to establish an ethical framework before fully adopting AI.

From this, we can see that nonprofits are seeing great value in incorporating AI into their workflows.

But selling your nonprofit AI dreams to your Board can be daunting, if not downright intimidating.

The truth is, as AI continues to advance, nonprofit Boards can no longer afford to ignore its potential – or the ethical, legal, and regulatory issues that come with it.

Before you present your idea, be aware of your Board’s concerns. Then you can do the correct research and formulate a presentation that will answer all their concerns.


12 AI challenges for nonprofit boards

Alignment with Your Mission and Values

Any AI Roadmap needs to directly support your nonprofit’s core missions and values. This is crucial to avoid compromising your principes and ethics.

Start with reviewing your nonprofit’s mission, vision, and values statements. Then conduct fact-finding workshops with the Board, staff, and other interested volunteers to evaluate potential AI use cases against these guiding principles.

Please include a Board member or committee at this stage of analysis. Their input will be invaluable in getting Board approval.

Risk of Data Bias

A huge nonprofit AI challenge is the potential of data bias.

Historical data used to train AI can contain societal biases, which can lead to the perpetuation of inequalities if not properly addressed.

The best way to combat this is to research the AI tools that you are considering. Sometimes, this information is readily available on their website. If it isn’t, another way is to do a Google search on the AI tool specifically asking about data that it was trained on. You will be able to see if any articles come up about this issue.

There is one company that I recommend for auditing the AI tools for their data training sources if you need further research. AI 4 Good provides audits that covers any use-case that you came up with in the first issue, the datasets used, the social context and a whole lot more.

A recent example is Google’s Gemini. The AI faced criticism for rewriting history by showing racially diverse and gender-balanced images, highlighting the need for vigilance against unintended biases.

Image by Natishus from Pixabay
AI Transparency

Image by Natishus from Pixabay

Lack of Transparency

This step involves developing clear policies and documentation on your nonprofit’s use of AI. This is called an AI Usage Policy.

It’s more operational in nature, outlining the specific rules, guidelines, and procedures for how an organization will use AI tools and technologies.

You will include explanations of what AI tools you are using, how you’re using the AI, if they are HIPPA compliant, and how the data is trained.

It’s good to explain how the AI output will be used in your nonprofit. For example, will your donor engagement letters be solely written by AI, or will there be a Human-In-The-Loop to polish the output?

Think about what will happen if a disgruntled ex-employee starts telling everyone that you solely use AI to write your donor engagement letters. Would that hurt your nonprofit? Would it matter? It might cause a lack of trust if they didn’t know how you use AI in your content. Will your donors have an issue with your AI usage?

Engage with stakeholders to address concerns. Include segments of your donors to discover their concerns. See if you can detail them in your AI Usage Policy.

This policy also needs to address how your client’s testimonies and other people’s stories will be handled. These people will need to understand your AI Usage policy and be given an option to not participate if they are not comfortable with your AI usage.

Collect your dot…

AI is here to stay. Nonprofits can benefit greatly from using the right AI tools, but research, planning, and strategies come into play – your nonprofit’s AI Roadmap.

Boards and staff shouldn’t be afraid of incorporating AI into their workflows. But you need to do your research first.

I have a free list of the top AI Tools for nonprofits to get you started with finding the right tool!