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Nonprofits, It’s Time to Get Started With AI!

And Here's How!

We enlisted Mike Kaput of Marketing AI Institute to share what nonprofits need to know.

Nonprofits, It’s Time to Get Started With AI!

AI, or artificial intelligence, is back in the news in a big way. The introduction of ChatGPT means that AI is no longer some sort of strange scientific voodoo…it can now write a grocery list or plan a weekend getaway for you. How can nonprofits jump on the AI bandwagon without spending tons of time, money, or resources?

To get an answer that would make sense to all of us, we reached out to our friend Mike Kaput with Marketing AI Institute. He’s the smartest AI guy we know, and as their Chief Content Officer, he’s terrific at teaching the ins and outs of this technology…and explaining its use cases for nonprofits.

Mike not only visited CharityEngine for an incredible webinar (How Nonprofits Can Get Started With AI), but he also spoke to hundreds of nonprofit executives at the recent NIO Conference. In this article, we will summarize some points that resonated with both audiences.

What is Your AI Opportunity?

Mike shared a simple explanation for what AI is:

AI is the science of making software smarter.

It changes and adapts faster than a human can learn, making it able to process incredible amounts of data and rapidly refine its answers to queries. While traditional software relies on human effort, AI automates much of the work. It can think, create, and reason—meaning it’s changing every industry we know.

Should we be worried that AI is going to replace humans?


Mike recommended we consider AI more of a copilot, working hand in hand with people to get better results faster and more efficiently.

Three Categories of AI

We all know about ChatGPT and how it can revolutionize content creation. It's everywhere. In fact, it’s now common for authors to include a Content Authenticity Statement on anything they created without ChatGPT (consider this sentence my promise that I am typing every word myself!) as many people assume AI had a hand in what they’re reading or seeing.

Mike broke AI down into three easy-to-understand categories:


  • AI can be used to forecast information based on the analysis of existing data.
  • It can be used to hyper-personalize communication with your donors.
  • The technology can recommend actions, such as donor outreach.
  • It’s effective at identifying and predicting trends and patterns.


  • AI is often used to generate images. For example, I asked it to generate an image of a dog running through a field, and I got this:

Untitled design-1

Which is pretty impressive. (And, for the record, that was 100% AI. Words are mine, picture is generated.)

  • AI can generate videos.
  • It can easily identify objects and faces.
  • It’s also excellent at detecting even microscopic movements.


And then, the AI we all know well. It’s an excellent language tool. AI can:

  • Read and write content
  • Listen to audio
  • Understand sentiment
  • Recognize voices
  • Translate languages

Any AI most of us will ever use will fall into one of those three categories. And, as you can imagine, it’s already being used in marketing tools across industries.

AI Use Cases and Tools: CharityEngine

If you’re looking around your office thinking, “There’s nothing here that AI could do!” then Mike has a question for you about literally any task that falls on you or your team:

Is the task data-driven, repetitive, predictive, or generative?

If the answer is yes to any of those, then AI can be very helpful!

How is AI specifically helping nonprofits? It’s been integrated into HubSpot, Salesforce, Google, and Microsoft. Mike also shared how CharityEngine’s technology is using AI to protect and power nonprofits:

  • Scanning tens of thousands of data points, AI can predict gift probability for donors – including what time to ask, how to ask, and for how much.
  • AI can hyperpersonalize donor communications, filling in past donation amounts and notes directly to each donor.
  • CharityEngine’s email interface is integrated with ChatGPT, so you can type “Write a fundraising email to save the spotted leopards” and it will do just that. You review, edit, and send. It can even include relevant facts about the leopards, saving you time.
  • Our advanced fraud protection relies on AI to keep donor data and information safe.

Mike shared that this is the least capable AI you’ll ever use. If your nonprofit CRM isn’t using AI to help your nonprofit grow, it’s time to find one that can. You don’t want to get too far behind!

Mike shared ten ways nonprofits could—and should—be using AI. It can:

  • Predict donor retention and churn rates
  • Forecast website traffic and online engagement
  • Project program enrollment and participation
  • Detect emotion and engagement in videos
  • Edit and enhance images and video automatically
  • Extract promotional clips from video
  • Summarize annual reports and research papers
  • Transcribe audio and video then extract insights
  • Use AI chatbots to respond to donor questions
  • Estimate the impact of promotional or marketing campaigns

Want to talk to us about how we’re using AI to help our nonprofit clients? Give us a ring.

Building a Smarter Organization

What can your nonprofit do now to build a smarter organization that’s ready to embrace AI?

Mike believes that leaders of any organization need to drive the AI change, so educating and engaging leaders like board members can go a long way in AI being given room in your nonprofit.

As for you, share AI-powered outcomes to communicate its importance:

  • Accelerate fundraising
  • Create personalized experiences at scale
  • Drive down costs
  • Generate greater return on investment (ROI)
  • Get actionable insights from data
  • Predict stakeholder needs and behaviors with accuracy
  • Reduce time spent on repetitive, data-driven tasks

Finally, Mike says, understand that change is coming and it’s time to start adjusting. View data as essential to success and build or buy technology solutions based on the data you have, the data you need, and the ways you can use AI.

Next Steps for Nonprofits

Now you know what AI is, what it looks like, and how it can help your nonprofit. Mike suggests the next steps for an organization that’s ready to truly jump on the AI bandwagon:

  • Focus on education and training (and MarketingAI has lots of places to start!)
  • Create an internal AI council, even if it’s just a few people getting educated and thinking about how to strategically bring AI into your nonprofit
  • Develop responsible AI principles, because there is a dark side to this generative technology
  • And build an AI roadmap, or project plan, so you can see how it will evolve with your organization

AI is here to stay. Remember when the internet first came on the scene and was considered a “fad” that would pass? We’ve learned our lesson! Educate yourself about AI and let it help you be a more effective fundraiser and leader. AI is, after all, the copilot you want flying next to you.