I’m sorry that this issue is late!! Life got in the way.

But I’m back on schedule with the next edition of how to gain Board approval for your nonprofits AI initiatives.

AI is a great tool to help streamline your workflows, but doing your research upfront will reduce any complications later.

So, off we go to the next set of issues a Board will want to address starting with number seven.

7. Meeting Stakeholder Expectations –

Communicating the organization’s AI strategy and addressing stakeholder concerns is key to building trust and maintaining support.

It’s crucial to get all stakeholders involved in this process. Everyone will have different concerns and knowledge about AI in your nonprofit sector.

So the best way is to gather feedback from all stakeholders.

Here are some ideas on how to get the information needed.

Surveys and Questionnaires:

Develop surveys to gather input from donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders on their perceptions, concerns, and expectations around your nonprofit’s use of AI.

Focus Groups and Interviews:

Conduct focus groups or one-on-one interviews to have in-depth discussions and better understand stakeholder perspectives.

This allows your nonprofit to dive deeper into specific concerns and uncover underlying issues or expectations.

Stakeholder Workshops:

Organize workshops or town hall-style meetings to engage stakeholders in collaborative discussions about your nonprofit’s AI plans.

This interactive approach can help build trust and address concerns in real-time.

Online Feedback Channels:

Provide an online platform or dedicated email address for stakeholders to submit feedback, questions, and suggestions about your nonprofit’s AI use.

Engaging a diverse range of stakeholders when developing AI policies ensures transparency. Incorporating multiple perspectives will result in more robust and well-rounded policies.

You will use this information to flesh out your AI Usage Policy and AI Ethics Policy.

Always provide regular progress updates on the implementation and performance of your AI initiatives. You can use newsletters, blog posts, or dedicated webinars to share information and address any emerging concerns.

Also make sure your AI Usage and Ethics Policy is easily accessible to all stakeholders. These will be living documents, but you will be seen as transparent about your AI tools.

It’s a good idea to designate a point of contact responsible for ongoing stakeholder engagement and communication around your AI initiatives. This helps to build trust and ensure that stakeholder concerns are addressed in a timely manner.

8. Regulatory Compliance –

Staying informed about evolving AI-related laws and regulations is crucial to ensure the organization’s practices remain compliant.

If you are a small to mid-sized nonprofit you probably have a small staff. You also don’t have the expertise nor time to delve into this like it should be.

But here are some ideas to keep you on top of compliance.

Leverage industry associations and networks:

Join relevant nonprofit associations, such as the National Council of Nonprofits or state-level nonprofit organizations, which often provide updates on regulatory changes and industry best practices.

In your AI Usage and Ethics Policy, you should have an area that articulates your ethical principles that guide your AI initiatives. It should also address how your nonprofit will comply with AI-related laws and regulations.

Subscribe to regulatory and legal updates:

Sign up for newsletters, email alerts, and RSS feeds from government agencies, legal firms, and industry publications that cover AI-related regulations and compliance. This will help you to stay up to date with changes in legal requirements regarding AI.

Collaborate with other nonprofits:

Reach out to peer organizations, either directly or through industry groups, to share information, best practices, and lessons learned on navigating AI regulations.

Pooling resources and knowledge can help smaller nonprofits stay informed and compliant.

Engage with Legal Experts:

Identify and build relationships with law firms or individual attorneys who specialize in AI, data privacy, and nonprofit compliance.

Consider retaining a legal advisor on a part-time or as-needed basis to provide guidance on regulatory changes and compliance.

Participate in Industry Events and Discussions:

Attend virtual or in-person conferences, webinars, and workshops hosted by nonprofit technology providers, legal organizations, or industry groups.

These events often feature discussions on the latest AI regulations and compliance best practices.

9. Accountability –

Establishing clear lines of responsibility for AI-driven decision-making and developing mechanisms to monitor and audit performance is essential.

This will include developing policies and procedures for AI governance, including roles, responsibilities, and reporting structures. Implement auditing and performance monitoring processes.

Once fleshed out, this should go in your AI Usage and Ethics Policy.

Here are the best ways for a small nonprofit to accomplish this:

Leverage Industry Frameworks and Guidance:

Refer to existing AI governance frameworks, such as the one from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as a starting point.

Establish an AI Governance Committee:

Form a cross-functional committee or working group to oversee the development and implementation of your nonprofit’s AI governance policies.

This committee should include representatives from various departments, such as IT, legal, operations, and program management.

Define Roles and Responsibilities:

Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the board, the AI governance committee, and individual staff members in the decision-making, implementation, and monitoring of AI initiatives.

Establish reporting structures and communication channels to ensure transparency and accountability.

Implement Auditing and Monitoring Processes:

Develop mechanisms to regularly audit the performance, accuracy, and ethical alignment of your nonprofit’s AI systems.

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitoring processes to track the impact and effectiveness of AI initiatives.

Collaborate with External Experts:

Consider partnering with legal experts, data scientists, or AI ethicists to help develop and review your nonprofit’s AI governance policies.

Incorporate Stakeholder Feedback:

Engage with donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders to gather feedback and address their concerns regarding your nonprofit’s use of AI.

Incorporate stakeholder input into the development and refinement of the AI governance policies.

If you are seeing some overlap on the steps, that’s great. This is like a check list to make sure you are hitting the boxes you need. Not every nonprofit will need to be this through. But, when you are dealing with underserved populations, supporters, staff, board, and volunteers it is better to be through.

Collect Your Dot…

It seems like AI has been with us for a short time but it has really been with us for a long while. We’ve seen it in Grammarly and in the predictive text within our text and chat messages to name a few places.

And it is only going to grow. Your nonprofit needs to get into AI tools now to start seeing the benefits.

The AI nonprofit tools can and will be so helpful to nonprofits who are strapped for workers and time.

This research can seem to be too much and overwhelming. Go through the list and see what applies to your nonprofit. Not all nonprofits are alike.

There is one more installment – so stay tuned!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them. I love hearing other opinions.

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

Related Blog Posts:

Mapping the AI Journey: Essential Elements of an Ethical Nonprofit AI Roadmap Part 1

Mapping the AI Journey: Essential Elements of an Ethical Nonprofit AI Roadmap Part 2