By Jeanne Murray, Partner.

Does artificial intelligence have a place in nonprofit work, which is fundamentally rooted in the reality of human relationships? When it can save you time, improve productivity, and generate ideas, using AI is quickly becoming the norm. I was at IBM in 1997 when Deep Blue, a computer, defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov, and the world has been propelled by machine learning and its progeny ever since. From Amazon recommendations to uses in manufacturing, medicine and more, powerful computer systems are indispensable to our lives in innumerable ways.

The game changer over the past year has been the release of free versions of tools such as Open AI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot. At moss+ross, we are listening to how clients are experimenting with AI and looking for ways it may improve our own productivity internally, such as:

  • Online meeting summaries: Tools that record, transcribe and summarize Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams meetings are not perfect but can offer a good summary of an online meeting.
  • Research assistance: AI tools can synthesize information quickly to help locate updated data for donor appeals, grant applications, and other materials to substantiate your case for funding. Some tools will cite the sources and others will offer suggestions, enabling you to do a more targeted online search.
  • Idea generation: Everyone faces the fear of the blank page! AI tools can be a place to start if you have writer’s block or simply need a list of ways to approach a problem.
  • Content creation: Some AI tools can generate written narratives such as newsletters, proposals, and thank you letters. In practice, however, this is typically where we see the “intelligence” to be a bit of a misnomer. We have had good experiences with content revision, but not always with content creation. AI tools will never know all that you do about presenting your appeal, expressing your gratitude, or connecting with your community.

We share these observations about this evolving space as a chance to learn, not as endorsements of any products or recommendations for use. Late last year, Pew Research Center surveys showed that 52% of Americans are more concerned than excited about AI in daily life. But clearly, AI is here to stay. We welcome your feedback so we can learn more together.