Request a Demo Search

[ASK AN EXPERT] Do I Really Have To Worry About AI?

Ask an Expert
Topics -

See How Bloomerang Can Have a Bigger Impact on Your Mission!

Schedule a Demo

Our Ask An Expert series features real questions answered by Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE, our very own Fundraising Coach, also known as Charity Clairity. Today’s question comes from a nonprofit employee who wants advice on how small nonprofits should approach using artificial intelligence (AI):  

Dear Charity Clairity,

Everyone is talking about AI, so I fear I can’t ignore it. But we’re a small nonprofit, I’m not particularly tech savvy, and I just don’t know where to begin. Can I wait for the bigger organizations to figure this out, and then jump on the bandwagon later?

— Overwhelmed, dazed and confused

Dear Overwhelmed, dazed and confused,

I had a boss in 2010 who told me “social media is a fad.”


It wasn’t.

Similarly, AI is here to stay.

So, best to stop being scared of it.

Dig into the technology (e.g., ChatGPT, Anthropic Claude, Gemini), and see what it’s capable of.

And remember: What it can do now is way less than what it will be able to do next year. And the year after that.

So, if you’re at all strategic, you can no longer be so without becoming comfortable with AI.

Why AI is worth paying attention to

It will soon be impossible to do your job without it.

Most likely 80% of the work people do in business today will be AI-assisted, at least in part, within the next two years.

Let’s say you do 20 things/month. Look at them and ask: how much can AI help me with these things? How can it enhance what I’m capable of doing? Can it actually automate some of these tasks?

Let’s say 50% of your tasks could be benefited by this technology. That would save you as much as 10 – 20 hours a week. Arguably, a small nonprofit can benefit from AI even more than a larger one. And, on a personal level, if you can save resources this way, you’ll become insanely valuable within your organization. Worth considering!

AI won’t go away.

What to do

Consider how you learn best; then engage in education and training.

Reading? Listening? Watching? Doing?

Take some time to curate some AI educational resources that match your favorite learning method. I highly recommend listening to AI Explored, a free YouTube podcast series put together by Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner. Back about 15 years ago, I learned much of what I know about content, inbound marketing, and social engagement from him. That was then; this is now. This series will cover everything you need to know to understand how AI can most effectively serve your nonprofit.

I just listened to a podcast episode featuring Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of Marketing AI Institute, and want to share some of his tips.

Pick one to three tools to go deep into; practice.

In other words, have AI help you with some of the tasks you identified earlier. For example:

  • Ask it to write a newsletter article; email headline;
  • Ask for a draft of an agenda for your event;
  • Ask it to identify speakers

You’ll see ways to blend the technology into your workflow.

You can’t simply listen to what others do. You must experiment yourself.

AI wants you to play.

Prepare yourself

You need to take some time to think about what you want it to do, and then experiment.

Just because you tried it a year ago, and thought it was meh, doesn’t mean you adequately prepared yourself for what it can do. Also, today’s versions (and paid versions) are infinitely more capable than yesterday’s versions.

Here are some practice tips:

  • Talk to it like a person.
  • Tell it specifically what you need help with.
  • Tell it why you need this help.
  • Tell it what you want to accomplish.
  • Ask it what it needs to know from you to do what you need.
  • Give it examples of what you did before and ask it to make improvements (e.g., shorter, snappier, funnier, using more emotional adjectives, warmer, etc.). Again, be specific (e.g., 2 pages; no more than 10 words; multiple use of the words “you,” “your,” and “us.”).
  • Ask it where it would insert images.
  • Ask it for some variations of what it just did. Ask it what else it would suggest.

The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

As you learn how to prompt it, it will begin to understand your style and, more or less, prompt itself. In other words, if you offer a super-wordy prompt, it will rewrite it (internally) and improve on what you wrote. In fact, Google found the best performing prompts are, on average, 21 words. [Bonus Tip: If you want to learn how to prompt more effectively, ask the AI what prompt it used to deliver your results.]

AI is getting better, fast.

What can you do besides draft text?

There’s generative AI and predictive AI.

More people are familiar with the former, where you use it to draft text. It’s equally good at the latter, which involves data analysis.

To grasp how this works, understand all AI models have vision capability. They can “see” things. They can understand what they see.

This means you can feed them data, a screen shot, a URL or a pdf.; then ask them “what’s happening here?” You can tell them the criteria you use to assess something (e.g. a web page; email series; ad campaign; even whether or not your major donor has received sufficient touches and moves to be asked for a gift) and ask them what they see. They’ll suggest things (like more images; different colors; less text; alternate placement; timing, etc.).

AI is here to stay.

Ground rules

Develop generative AI policies that give you basic guidelines. 

These help everyone in your organization, internally and externally.

  • Which tools are you allowed to use? (e.g., AI-generated images? Video?)
  • For which use cases?
  • What are acceptable inputs?
  • Which data will you allow it to access?
  • How will you keep information secure and protect privacy?

One way to start developing an AI policy for your organization is to search the internet for “responsible AI framework.” You’ll get a lot of hits from businesses (e.g., KPMG, IBM) and also from places like Project Evident for responsible AI adoption in philanthropy. There are also many templates from which you can borrow (see here, here, and here).

Create a draft policy; run it by an attorney to make sure you’re not running afoul of copyright, trademark, breach of confidentiality, unintentional bias, or other potential pitfalls.

Put your generative AI policy on your website so folks know you have a policy and are acting above-board. AI is best used transparently, ethically and legally.

With AI, and anything else, there’s a right way.

The best way to become un-overwhelmed is to alleviate fear and confusion by digging in!

— Charity Clairity (Please use a pseudonym if you prefer to be anonymous when you submit your own question, like “Overwhelmed, dazed and confused” did.)

Have you had success using AI for fundraising? Let us know in the comments. 

Do you have a burning question for our Fundraising Coach?

Submit Your Questions Now!

Exclusive Resources

Related Articles


Leave a reply