Building on my Ethical Storytelling and Asset-Framing newsletters, my next series of newsletters will focus on ethical use of AI for non-profits. There is so much to discuss!

So, let’s jump in!

A few weeks back, my business building program dipped their toe into the world of AI. Everyone had a different opinion and had different experiences with it.

One person stated that her company is dealing with ethical use of AI, which I hadn’t thought of before.

What is ethical AI? The answer depends on defining ethical AI principles. There are many related initiatives, all around the world. Over 90 organizations have attempted to define ethical AI principles! They came up with more than 200 principles.

How can you make sense of it all and come up with tangible rules to follow?

As a freelancer, I developed my own AI Usage document. Everyone will know HOW I will use AI. It also gives them the option to opt out of using AI.

Non-profits need to do the same.

So as we go along, please start defining how your non-profit will incorporate AI.

Is it ethical for non-profits to even use AI?

YES!

As long as you do so responsibly and adhere to key ethical principles.

Here are some examples of ethical uses:

Automating repetitive tasks: AI can be used to automate administrative tasks such as:

  • Grant writing
  • Donor outreach
  • Volunteer management
  • Freeing up staff time to focus on mission-critical work are examples.

Improving accessibility: AI can be used to:

  • Add captions to videos
  • Describe images for the visually impaired
  • Simplify language to make content more accessible.

Enhancing fundraising and donor engagement: AI can analyze data:

  • To identify potential donors
  • Personalize outreach
  • Optimize fundraising campaigns.

Streamlining operations: AI can help nonprofits make more informed decisions:

  • By analyzing large datasets
  • Identifying patterns and insights

Both the graphics in this article was generated by Google’s AIStudio. I think I need more practice on the prompts but I digress.

What Are AI Ethical Principles?

AI ethical principles aim to ensure AI is designed and applied in a way that:

  • Respects human rights
  • Promotes the common good
  • Mitigates potential harms or unintended consequences

Nonprofits must be mindful of not only HIPPA certifications but ethical principles too.

AI Ethical Principles

Fairness: Ensuring AI algorithms do not exhibit biases or discriminate against certain groups.

The AI system shouldn’t exhibit bias against individuals or groups.

A recent example is Google’s Gemini. Gemini faced criticism for showing racially diverse and gender-balanced images of historical figures. In their attempt to not show bias, it rewrote history.

Whoops!

You should also consider the data used to train the AI models. This leads into the next principle.

Privacy: Protecting donor and client data. Being transparent about data use, and obtaining consent.

Non-profits must respect individual privacy rights. And also provide transparency about data collection and usage.

Research your AI tool. Does what you write make it into their machine learning models? This information should be on their website.

Be aware that your AI Usage Policy should needs to be with your Storyteller’s Bill of Rights. The AI Usage Policy is explicit on how you use AI. This includes how your AI tool uses your clients personal information.

This pertains to HIPPA regulations too. Research your AI tool to see if it is HIPPA compliant. Currently, Jasper.ai and Writer.com are the only ones that specifically states that they are HIPPA compliant. But please do your own research, this information changes so fast.

Transparency: Explaining how AI systems make decisions and being accountable for their outputs.

AI tools should be transparent. Their websites provide documents explaining how they function and make decisions.

This enables accountability and builds trust between you and the AI company. It also builds trust between you and your clients when you can answer their AI questions.

Accessibility: Considering how AI can improve accessibility. But also how it can inadvertently create new barriers.

AI can improve accessibility by:

  • Automated transcription and captioning: AI can automatically generate transcripts and captions for audio and video content. This makes multimedia accessible to those with hearing impairments.
  • Image recognition and description: AI algorithms can analyze images and provide descriptive text. This allows visually impaired users to understand visual content.
  • Automated Accessibility Testing: AI can analyze website code and identify accessibility issues. This guides developers in making necessary improvements.

AI can cause barriers by:

  • Accuracy and Reliability Concerns: AI algorithms must be continuously refined to ensure accurate and reliable results. This is especially true for critical accessibility features like captioning and image recognition. This is where a human has to be involved to review all AI generated material.
  • Privacy and Security Risks: There has to be a balance between AI content to enhance user experience and safeguarding user privacy.
  • Potential for Bias and Unfairness: If AI systems are not designed with inclusivity in mind, they can perpetuate existing biases. This can lead to discriminating against certain user groups.
  • Lack of Accessibility Expertise: Your non-profit needs to have a deep understanding of accessibility. If you don’t, your AI powered solutions may not be inclusive.
  • Rapid Technological Change: The AI and accessibility technologies are changing so fast it is hard to keep up. It requires continuous innovation and adaptation to keep up with emerging needs and standards.

Connect your dot…

As nonprofits are leveraging AI-powered tools, you must be mindful of the ethical principles at play. These include fairness, privacy, transparency, and assessiblity.

Something I haven’t mentioned is how humans fit into the world of AI.

YOU are the most important part in implementing AI?

You are the Human-In-The-Loop or HITL.

HITL’s review all copy and images generated by AI, to check for accuracy and to put in the human emotion that AI can’t.

Join me in positioning your nonprofit as a leader in responsible technology adoption.

Stay tuned for more insights on ethical AI in the nonprofit sector.