Artificial intelligence in non-profit organizations

Darrell M. West and Theron Kelso at Brookings: “Artificial intelligence provides a way to use automated software to perform a number of different tasks. Private industry, government, and universities have deployed it to manage routine requests and common administrative processes. Fields from finance and healthcare to retail and defense are witnessing a dramatic expansion in the use of these tools.

Yet non-profits often lack the financial resources or organizational capabilities to innovate through technology. Most non-profits struggle with small budgets and inadequate staffing, and they fall behind the cutting edge of new technologies. This limits their group’s efficiency and effectiveness, and makes it difficult to have the kind of impact they would like.

However, there is growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics in non-profit organizations. Below are some of the many examples of non-profits using emerging technologies to handle finance, human resources, communications, internal operations, and sustainability.


Fraud and corruption are major challenges for any kind of organization as it is hard to monitor every financial transaction and business contract. AI tools can help managers automatically detect actions that warrant additional investigation. Businesses long have used AI and ML to create early warning systems, spot abnormalities, and thereby minimize financial misconduct. These tools offer ways to combat fraud and detect unusual transactions.


Advanced software helps organizations advertise, screen, and hire promising staff members. Once managers have decided what qualities they are seeking, AI can match applicants with employers. Automated systems can pre-screen resumes, check for relevant experience and skills, and identify applicants who are best suited for particular organizations. They also can weed out those who lack the required skills or do not pass basic screening criteria.


Every non-profit faces challenges in terms of communications. In a rapidly-changing world, it is hard to keep in touch with outside donors, internal staff, and interested individuals. Chatbots automate conversations for commonly asked questions through text messaging. These tools can help with customer service and routine requests such as how to contribute money, address a budget question, or learn about upcoming programs. They represent an efficient and effective way to communicate with internal and external audiences….(More)”.