Marketing & communications

5 AI Tools that are helping charities have the most impact

How can AI help charities to make a difference?

According to the 2023 Charity Digital Skills Report only 27% of charities are using AI and 26% are not, but plan to. There’s a huge buzz around AI in the sector as charities scrabble to understand the threats and opportunities that come with using it in their work.

Artificial Intelligence is a banner term for a vast range of technologies – everything from autonomous weapons to Netflix’s personalised preferences. While these tools might have some similarities in the way they process information, their impact on the world is extremely varied.

There are very few classification systems for understanding the different types of AI, but on the whole the charity sector is using generative (sometimes called genAI) and predictive AI tools for impact.

Finding the right tools for the job

To use AI successfully charities will need to think about organisational strategy first and AI tools second. Yes, there are generative and predictive AI models that could help charities reach better outcomes. However, AI can only help when charities are crystal clear on what they want to achieve in the first place.

Governance – Charity Excellence

To save charity leaders time and money, Charity Excellence has created an AI chatbot that answers governance and many other FAQs that charities may have. If you have a governance or policy issue, ‘ask the bunnies’ and they might well help you solve it by answering questions, drafting policies or whatever you need to resolve the issue.

Enhancing and triaging helpline calls – NSPCC Childline

At NSPCC Childline, an AI chatbot keeps young people engaged while they are waiting to speak to a trained counsellor. It helps to triage calls by signposting young people to non-live support on the website and the conversation is made available to the counsellor when the call does take place to enhance their response based on any information the young person has already disclosed.

Grant funding admin – Evolve 3

Applying for grant funding is a huge administrative task for many charities. Seeking funding for one project may involve several applications to different funders in different formats with different word counts and other requirements.

At Evolve 3, Dianne Hall is helping small charities repurpose their cases for support into the funding applications using generative AI. She uses tools like ChatGPT to create first drafts on letter format and application form format funding applications, polishing them with her skill as an editor and writer.

Segmenting supporter data – Dataro

At most charities, individual giving fundraisers and database managers work together to decide which supporters should receive an appeal – but what if predictive AI could do a better job? Charities like Pancreatic Cancer UK are using Dataro to select the data for their appeals. Use of the tool has resulted in them mailing less people, but raising more money from their appeal in a year on year comparison.

Supplementing image library – Apimondia

Generative AI tools like Midjourney, Hotpot or DALL.E can generate images from a text prompt. For charities with limited image libraries or budget for stock images, this can be very helpful. Apimondia, the charity for beekeepers, has successfully used stylised AI generated images to depict the danger to bees from climate change.

Generative and predictive AI tools do offer opportunities for charities, but these opportunities don’t come without risks.

Join us for a one-day course to learn more about the AI revolution, what we know about the risks involved and how they could apply to charities, examples of AI in action at charities and an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences between charities. Register here.

Helen will be running a session at The Ultimate Guide to Marketing your Charity conference on Wednesday 26 June. Learn more and book here.