A new chapter in digital technology is emerging that operates very differently from the previous generation of digital tech like email and social media that made life faster—but not necessarily better—for workers. It will free workers from the time-consuming, rote tasks that take up 30 percent of staff time. This newly freed time provides nonprofit workers the opportunity to pivot to building relationships, sharing stories, and solving big problems. In other words, workers will be able to spend much more time on meaningful work and less time on busywork.

In our new book, The Smart Nonprofit, we define this next generation of “smart tech” as the universe of technologies that includes artificial intelligence (AI) and its subsets and cousins, such as machine learning and natural language processes, that all rely on cloud computing. These technologies—rather than individuals—use Library of Congress-size data sets to find patterns and make decisions for people. Current commercial applications are being used by organizations to screen resumes, answer frequently asked and fact-based questions (e.g., “What time do you open?” and “Is my donation tax deductible?”), automatically update budgets, organize meetings, and research donor prospects.

The purpose of using the technology in organizations isn’t to do more, faster, but to free people from time-consuming tasks and create what we call a “dividend of time”—the surplus of time that is produced from having smart tech replacing basic, repetitive tasks. This new time can be allocated for tasks and activities that only people can do, such as building stronger relationships and solving problems. Or, this dividend of time could afford us the ability to pace ourselves and our labor for our personal benefit and for the benefit of the work we produce.

The articles in this series exemplify how next-generation nonprofits are employing cloud-powered smart tech to improve the quality of their work and their staff’s lives. For example, Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to finding solutions to poverty, uses this tech to gain insights for fundraising. The nonprofit and renowned art museum the Barnes Foundation relies on it to make art education more accessible to all. And charity: water, a nonprofit dedicated to providing clean water to developing nations, uses smart tech to facilitate their processes in order to make clean drinking water more reliably available. A common factor uniting the nonprofit efforts enumerated in this supplement is that each has an organizational leadership that understands why, where, and when to use smart tech.

Read the full article about KEYWORD by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine at Stanford Social Innovation Review.