Artificial intelligence (AI) is not just a shiny new tool for the tech savvy; it’s a driver of future success for nonprofit organizations. From the capacity of ChatGPT to draft fundraising emails, to the power of deep learning tools for wildfire prevention, AI is already revving up the creative engines of visionary changemakers across the globe. But digital transformation is a costly process. And for resource-strapped nonprofits, efforts to adopt AI across their operational and programmatic efforts remain isolated, siloed, and inconsistent.

Philanthropy can change that. With the active support of tech-forward foundations, nonprofits can begin to integrate AI and digital tools into their work. This piece proposes three philanthropic best practices to drive this transformation: a focus on institution building, creating distributed networks of skill and capacity, and long-term commitments to allyship and sector-wide transformation. Through sustained partnership, the social sector can build an AI future that champions human dignity and community aspirations for global progress.

A New Approach to Digital Transformation

As a foundation dedicated to bridging the gap between digital and social innovation, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF) works to accelerate nonprofit impact and build individual agency through AI and data solutions. Based on our learnings, three mechanisms can help achieve both goals, enabling nonprofits, and the communities they serve, to thrive in an AI-driven world.

  1. Building Institutions for Centralized Technical Support
  2. Creating Distributed Networks of Skill and Capacity
  3. Forging Long-Term Commitments to Allyship and Sector-Wide Transformation

Read the full article about building AI for impact by Vilas Dhar and Yolanda Botti-Lodovico at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.