This week we’re starting a series about artificial intelligence and the nonprofit sector because it’s permeating all aspects of our society, including charities. Even small organizations, with limited resources, understand the power of AI and we’re going to help you with ideas and information about the technology that can help your group develop and expand your resources.

One of the most innovative ways that AI was used for social good was at the Crisis Text Line in New York City.  It serves as a great example of the power of AI and how it can be used for social good. What Crisis Text Line did with artificial intelligence was featured in an article published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Essentially, artificial intelligence helped the nonprofit in search of words in texts that could be “most statistically associated with a high risk of suicide.”

The Crisis Text Line in New York City is available at any hour of the day, seven days a week, and its purpose is connecting every person who texts them with a trained human crisis counselor. When dealing with a potential suicide situation, every minute is vital, which is why the technology team at the nonprofit sought to analyze the 65 million texts they received to try to determine which word were associated with a high risk of suicide. If it were not for artificial intelligence, analyzing this voluminous data, would not have been possible.

Crisis Text Line was able to discover that the term “EMS” was the most predictive term in a potentially life-threatening situation––even over the word “suicide.” With that knowledge, “the organization is now able to respond to 94 percent of high-risk texters in fewer than five minutes” as it triages texts.



Artificial Intelligence and Social Good

The Brookings Institute has stated that despite the reality that most charities are small and operate with limited resources, “there is a growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics in non-profit organizations.” In fact, in the nonprofit sector, organizations are using the technology in ways that are helping their overall effectiveness concerning hiring and recruiting, finance, operations and, yes, fundraising and marketing.

Concerning finance, for instance, which is a challenge for any business or organization, AI can aid managers who can discover anomalies in financials. Organizational financials aren’t the only areas where nonprofits are leveraging the power and speed of artificial intelligence.


For those of us who have been associated with the nonprofit sector, we know that there’s always a need to raise money for programs and the operation of an organization. Because it’s such a critical area, we’ll be exploring it more in our artificial intelligence series, but as a little teaser of what’s to come, in 2017 The Chronicle of Philanthropyselected Gravytyas the top “New Fundraising Idea that Worked.”

In a game-changing experience, the company Gravyty, helped the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund increase their fundraising revenue by an outstanding 49 percent, which was an increase of almost $2 million, with the use of AI during their first year with the use of Gravyty’s technology. According to Gravyty, “Eager to make strategic use of a rapidly expanding base of supporters, the charity’s three-person development staff began using predictive-analytics software, harnessing the power of data in much the same way that large hospitals and colleges do.”

Artificial Intelligence Series

We’ve provided you with just a flavor of what we’re going to explore in the series in the coming weeks ahead. Because AI is one of the top opportunities that will fundamentally change how nonprofits operate, we’ll be examining the impact of artificial intelligence in the  following areas in this particular series:

  • Nonprofit administration and operations
  • Human resources and recruiting
  • Marketing and fundraising

We’re excited to have the opportunity to bring you this series, which will include a free downloadable resource, so stay tuned and join us at discovering how the use of artificial intelligence can fundamentally change how you operate within your nonprofit organization. We’ll not only provide you with tips and ideas, but we’ll also be exploring some of the artificial intelligence tools on the market that are being used by others and can perhaps be something that you will find worthwhile for your nonprofit group.


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