The Artificial Intelligence Revolution Arrives in Philanthropy

By: The Johnson Center | January 2024 | Blog

 

 

In the past twelve months, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Alliance Magazine, Inside Philanthropy, and many more have all published content that both explores and predicts the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the philanthropic sector. While AI is not a new field, it has received an enormous amount of attention and interest in the past year. According to Google Trends, the popularity of the search term “artificial intelligence” dramatically increased in 2023, reaching an all-time high in April following the release of Chat GPT, Bing Chat, and Bard by Google (Open AI, 2022, & Mehdi, 2023).

This is also not the first time the Johnson Center has included AI in our annual 11 Trends in Philanthropy report. The topic first appeared in 2020, when Adriana Paz observed, “New sources of data, new technologies, and new analytical approaches [including artificial intelligence and machine learning], if applied responsibly, can enable more agile, efficient, and evidence-based decision-making” (para. 12). Again in 2022, Kallie Bauer (author here) explored the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning by nonprofit organizations in “Nonprofits are Finding New Ways to Get the Data They Need.”

Both of these previous references focused on the role of AI in expanding access to and the usefulness of data in the sector. Since these trends were written, the number of artificial intelligence tools that are both low- to no-cost and available for supporting other aspects of the work — such as writing and fundraising — has increased. In addition, the type of AI leveraged in these free tools is evolving and increasingly easy to use.

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