Abstract image with computer art vibe.

I am always looking for ways to solve problems. For many nonprofit managers, though, solving problems becomes what you do after you meet the immediate deadline or resolve the current crisis. It’s not what we want, but it’s what happens.

Working with Generative AI can effectively clear up some time so you can be more productive. Many nonprofit managers have thought about using AI to streamline repetitive tasks–but where do you get started?

Using AI to Streamline Essential Nonprofit Management Work

Much of nonprofit management can be divided into four areas: Programs, Finance and Operations, Development, and  Marketing. For each of these areas, AI can be a resource. 

In the past ten days, I’ve tapped into AI tools for an array of nonprofit management tasks:

  • Analyzed 3,000 lines of data to pinpoint the top 30 donor prospects.
  • Examined 265 charitable donations from a family foundation, discerning giving patterns to align with a specific nonprofit’s goals and crafting targeted outreach messages through a custom AI model (GPT) I developed.
  • Utilized a GPT I built to dissect an RFP, comparing it against an applicant’s programmatic focus to highlight alignment for a potential grant.
  • Guided a client in developing a GPT-based writing and social media editor for their foundation.
  • Analyzed a spreadsheet containing seven years’ worth of donations and grants, revealing funding patterns across funder types, the nonprofit’s programs,  and the age groups they serve.
  • Streamlined client tracking and billing processes with AI-driven insights.

Additionally, I’ve tackled repetitive tasks like newsletter editing and campaign planning. I’ve also drafted outreach messages and surveys and summarized a report on AI policies in K-12 education, focusing on relevance to a nonprofit client. 

Some of these activities came quickly when I started working with ChatGPT-4, Claude, Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft CoPilot; others seemed impossible a year ago. Tasks that required a coding platform, like OpenAI’s Code Interpreter, seemed out of reach when I started, yet now I use that tool almost daily. Through practice, reading, and revision, I’ve gained the capacity to use GenerativeAI for more complex functions than I could when I started.

DALL-E’s depiction of coaching nonprofit managers in using AI

Using AI for repetitive tasks and research as a time-saving mechanism has been invaluable. I’ve also learned how to build targeted tools for specific tasks, like the Donor Match GPT I created to analyze and match giving data. 

Gaining these skills has felt transformative. Using AI to solve problems for my clients feels excellent. Some of the capabilities I’ve created are available in commercial, higher-end fundraising tools, but accessing those resources is too expensive for most smaller nonprofits.

Yet, navigating this landscape often feels like charting unknown territory. The conversation on how nonprofit management core processes and jobs could benefit from AI tools is limited. My growth has come from reading research papers and developer forums on prompts and GPTs, and the math and science underpinning AI. I’ve then contemplated what I learned might be applied to nonprofit management. I have an interative product development mindset about this work, and I go back and test, refine, and tweak.  

Through reflection, trial, and error, I am learning an incredible amount about how AI tools can support nonprofits now and more about what they cannot do well. In these posts, I aim to share what I learn and encourage others to experiment.

Connect and Collaborate

Modern cartoon style: the first image DALL-E generated.

Modern cartoon style: the first image DALL-E generated.

What are you doing to build Generative AI skills to support your work and organization? Have you started using Generative AI, subscribed to a higher-level platform, and tried creating some custom GPTs? If you’re in a nonprofit organization doing this work, I’d love to hear what you are up to. 

If you’re considering the possibilities but are unsure how–or when–to get started, I invite you to reach out so we can discuss ways to focus your explorations with AI on skills that will help your foundation or nonprofit.  

Best email: susan@collectiveagencyllc.com

I am always looking for ways to solve problems. For many nonprofit managers, though, solving problems becomes what you do after you meet the immediate deadline or resolve the current crisis. It’s not what we want, but it’s what happens.

Working with Generative AI can effectively clear up some time so you can be more productive. Many nonprofit managers have thought about using AI to streamline repetitive tasks–but where do you get started?

Using AI to Streamline Essential Nonprofit Management Work

Much of nonprofit management can be divided into four areas: Programs, Finance and Operations, Development, and  Marketing. For each of these areas, AI can be a resource. 

In the past ten days, I’ve tapped into AI tools for an array of nonprofit management tasks:

  • Analyzed 3,000 lines of data to pinpoint the top 30 donor prospects.
  • Examined 265 charitable donations from a family foundation, discerning giving patterns to align with a specific nonprofit’s goals and crafting targeted outreach messages through a custom AI model (GPT) I developed.
  • Utilized a GPT I built to dissect an RFP, comparing it against an applicant’s programmatic focus to highlight alignment for a potential grant.
  • Guided a client in developing a GPT-based writing and social media editor for their foundation.
  • Analyzed a spreadsheet containing seven years’ worth of donations and grants, revealing funding patterns across funder types, the nonprofit’s programs,  and the age groups they serve.
  • Streamlined client tracking and billing processes with AI-driven insights.

Additionally, I’ve tackled repetitive tasks like newsletter editing and campaign planning. I’ve also drafted outreach messages and surveys and summarized a report on AI policies in K-12 education, focusing on relevance to a nonprofit client. 

Some of these activities came quickly when I started working with ChatGPT-4, Claude, Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft CoPilot; others seemed impossible a year ago. Tasks that required a coding platform, like OpenAI’s Code Interpreter, seemed out of reach when I started, yet now I use that tool almost daily. Through practice, reading, and revision, I’ve gained the capacity to use GenerativeAI for more complex functions than I could when I started.

DALL-E’s depiction of coaching nonprofit managers in using AI

Using AI for repetitive tasks and research as a time-saving mechanism has been invaluable. I’ve also learned how to build targeted tools for specific tasks, like the Donor Match GPT I created to analyze and match giving data. 

Gaining these skills has felt transformative. Using AI to solve problems for my clients feels excellent. Some of the capabilities I’ve created are available in commercial, higher-end fundraising tools, but accessing those resources is too expensive for most smaller nonprofits.

Yet, navigating this landscape often feels like charting unknown territory. The conversation on how nonprofit management core processes and jobs could benefit from AI tools is limited. My growth has come from reading research papers and developer forums on prompts and GPTs, and the math and science underpinning AI. I’ve then contemplated what I learned might be applied to nonprofit management. I have an interative product development mindset about this work, and I go back and test, refine, and tweak.  

Through reflection, trial, and error, I am learning an incredible amount about how AI tools can support nonprofits now and more about what they cannot do well. In these posts, I aim to share what I learn and encourage others to experiment.

Connect and Collaborate

Modern cartoon style: the first image DALL-E generated.

Modern cartoon style: the first image DALL-E generated.

What are you doing to build Generative AI skills to support your work and organization? Have you started using Generative AI, subscribed to a higher-level platform, and tried creating some custom GPTs? If you’re in a nonprofit organization doing this work, I’d love to hear what you are up to. 

If you’re considering the possibilities but are unsure how–or when–to get started, I invite you to reach out so we can discuss ways to focus your explorations with AI on skills that will help your foundation or nonprofit.  

Best email: susan@collectiveagencyllc.com