Unleashing AI’s Potential for Nonprofits

The Power of AI in the Nonprofit Sector

During the May 14 webinar hosted by TechSoup Connect BC, Deepa Chaudhary, founder of Grant Orb and an experienced nonprofit technologist, shed light on the transformative power of artificial intelligence (AI) for nonprofits. The session titled “Harnessing AI for Good: Empowering Nonprofits with Artificial Intelligence” delved into how this technology had drastically enhanced the capabilities of nonprofit organizations.

AI’s Revolutionary Impact

Deepa began by highlighting the revolutionary changes AI had brought about since the introduction of models like ChatGPT in late 2022. These advancements had democratized access to what she referred to as “superintelligence,” altering the operational landscapes for various sectors, especially nonprofits.

She discussed her extensive background in fundraising and technology adoption across different continents and how these experiences had provided her with insights into the struggles nonprofits face—struggles that AI could significantly mitigate.

Exploring Generative AI

A significant portion of the webinar focused on generative AI and its capabilities. Deepa explained that this new wave of AI could generate text, images, and even videos from simple prompts, transforming the way content was created. Tools like ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion, and others have made it easier for nonprofits to produce marketing materials, manage databases, and even handle complex queries about their work.

Practical Applications for Nonprofits

The practical applications of AI for nonprofits were vast. AI could automate the generation of reports, facilitate efficient communication across different languages, simplify data analysis, and much more. Deepa shared examples from her own experience where AI tools had helped create visual content, manage data, and streamline communications, underscoring the efficiency AI brought to typically time-consuming tasks.

Grant Orb: A Case Study in AI’s Impact

Deepa introduced Grant Orb, an AI-powered tool designed to assist nonprofits in writing grant proposals. This tool leveraged AI to understand project details and craft comprehensive grant applications, which could significantly reduce the administrative burden on nonprofit teams. She provided a live demonstration of how Grant Orb created a structured grant proposal from basic project information, illustrating AI’s potential to save precious resources.

Empowering Nonprofits through AI

Concluding the webinar, Deepa emphasized that the future of AI in nonprofits looked promising, with the potential for specialized AI models tailored to specific tasks and challenges within the sector. These advancements could lead to more personalized and efficient operations, enabling nonprofits to focus more on their mission and less on administrative complexities.

Conclusion

The webinar highlighted the dynamic role AI could play in transforming nonprofit operations. As these technologies continued to evolve, they offered exciting possibilities for enhancing efficiency, creativity, and impact in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits eager to stay ahead in a rapidly changing world should consider integrating AI technologies into their operations, a move that could fundamentally change how they accomplish their goals.

Unlocking Accessible Online Learning

In the ever-evolving landscape of online education, the conversation around accessible learning has never been more crucial. To help us all improve our programs’ accessibility, TechSoup Connect BC recently hosted an illuminating session titled “10 Things All Nonprofits Should Know About Accessible Online Learning.” The session featured insights Leah Chang, CEO of Leah Chang Learning—a pioneer in accessible online learning.

Leah Chang: Breaking Down Barriers in Education

Leah Chang shared her journey and the vision behind Leah Chang Learning (LCL). With a focus on educational leadership and technological adoption, LCL is dedicated to developing inclusive curricula that cater to a diverse audience, including sectors that support mental health and neurodiversity. 

Leah provided an overview of LCL’s services, emphasizing their mission to remove barriers to online learning. From designing learning products to supporting organizations with technology, LCL is passionate about inclusion and accessible education.

A Message from Leah Chang Learning

We wanted to extend a big thank you to everyone who joined us for our recent session on enhancing accessibility in online learning with Leah Chang Learning.

If you’ve got any burning questions or just want to chat more about the topics we covered, Leah is here and ready to connect. You can shoot her an email at leah@leahchanglearning.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Thanks again for being a part of the conversation and for your commitment to making education more inclusive. We had a blast sharing insights with you, and we hope you found the session as valuable as we did!

Deep Dive into Accessibility and Online Learning

The core of the session delved into actionable insights and strategies for enhancing online learning accessibility. Leah Chang covered everything from understanding web accessibility terms and leveraging assistive technologies to engaging communities and integrating accessibility into strategic planning.

Boosting Accessibility Across Learning Formats: Leah emphasized the importance of making all forms of learning accessible, whether asynchronous, synchronous, in-person, or online.

Familiarizing with Web Accessibility Terms: A call to become acquainted with the language of web accessibility, including WCAG standards.

Prioritizing Different Levels of Accessibility: Insights into approaching accessibility practically by prioritizing certain aspects of learning content for enhancement.

Applying Universal Design: Leah shared the POUR (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust) principles as a framework for creating accessible learning experiences.

Leveraging Technology Wisely: The session stressed the importance of choosing and utilizing technology that supports accessibility.

Community Engagement and Accessibility Testing: Leah advocated for involving community members in testing and providing feedback on online learning content to ensure it meets accessibility standards.

Incorporating Accessibility into Project Management: Leah advised embedding accessibility considerations into the foundation of project planning and execution.

Next Steps to Improve Learning Accessibility

The session concluded with Leah encouraging participants to integrate accessibility into their organizations’ philosophies and strategic plans. Leah urged attendees to consider how they could take actionable steps toward creating more inclusive online learning experiences.

For those seeking to delve deeper into the world of accessible online learning or to consult on specific projects, Leah Chang and her team welcome inquiries and are eager to share resources and guidance.

The Path Ahead

TechSoup Connect BC’s session with Leah Chang serves as a vibrant beacon for the importance of accessible online learning. The webinar not only highlighted the current achievements and future aspirations of leaders in the field but also provided practical, actionable insights for nonprofits looking to make their educational content more inclusive. As digital platforms continue to shape the educational landscape, the commitment to accessibility will ensure that learning remains a right, not a privilege, for all.

Navigating Product Management in Nonprofits: Insights from the TechSoup Connect Workshop

In the dynamic world of tech and nonprofit work, understanding the ins and outs of product management is crucial for leveraging technology to maximize impact. Recently, a TechSoup Connect British Columbia Western Canada event unveiled a wealth of knowledge on “Product Management Fundamentals for Nonprofits”. The workshop, led by product management expert Moshe Mikhanovsky, founder of Products for Good, aimed to bridge the gap between technology solutions and the real needs of clients within the nonprofit sector.

🔽 Download the slides

Breaking Down Product Management

The term “product management” might conjure images of software development or commercial goods creation, but as Mikhanovsky pointed out, its application goes beyond the conventional. He clarified that product management encompasses a broad range of actions from ideation to delivery, ensuring products meet customer expectations and achieve desired outcomes.

Moshe Mikhanovsky shared his personal journey from an engineering background to a product management enthusiast, driven by the need to meet and exceed user expectations with lean, iterative product development techniques. His project, Products for Good, exemplifies applying product management to socially impactful initiatives, thus providing a learning platform for aspiring product managers aimed at building products that contribute positively to humanity.

Product Management for Nonprofits

The workshop specifically tailored its insights to the nonprofit sector, where product management principles can help in strategic planning and implementation of various programs and services. Mikhanovsky highlighted three critical areas where nonprofits can leverage product management:

1. Product Development: Nonprofits developing products as part of their offerings can benefit from a product management approach to ensure their services meet user needs and remain viable.

2. Service Delivery: Viewing services through a product management lens can help nonprofits streamline operations, improve service delivery, and ensure sustainability.

3. Digital Transformation: In the era of digitalization, nonprofits need to evaluate and sometimes reevaluate the tech tools and platforms they use. Product management can guide selecting, configuring, and integrating technology solutions to meet organizational and client needs effectively.

Applying Product Management Process

Moshe took the workshop attendees through the product management process, emphasizing the importance of continuous discovery, strategy, prioritization, development, and monitoring. He outlined the roles within a product team — engineering, design, and product management — and discussed the importance of reducing risks related to feasibility, usability, value, and viability.

One interesting point raised was about adapting product management to existing systems within an organization, particularly for digital teams in larger nonprofits. Moshe suggested a regular evaluation of these systems against organizational needs and goals, looking for gaps that might hamper effectiveness or growth. This approach ensures that organizations remain agile, making informed decisions about updating or replacing systems to better serve their mission.

Conclusion: The Road Ahead

The workshop made it clear that product management isn’t just about managing products; it’s about strategically aligning products or services with an organization’s goals to create maximum value for end-users. For nonprofits, applying these principles can mean more efficient services, better use of technological tools, and ultimately, a greater impact on the communities they serve.

As nonprofit organizations continue to navigate the complexities of serving their communities in an increasingly digital world, embracing the principals of product management offers a path to not just survive but thrive. The insights shared by Moshe Mikhanovsky during the TechSoup Connect event provide a solid foundation for any nonprofit looking to leverage product management for social good.

Whether you’re looking to improve your service delivery, embark on a digital transformation journey, or develop new products to better serve your community, the principles of product management hold the key to achieving your organization’s goals with efficiency and impact.

REPLAY: The Top Technology Trends for Nonprofits in 2024

In the replay from our launch event of 2024, we delve further into the critical technology trends that are set to shape the landscape for nonprofits in the coming year.

From AI and process automation to cybersecurity and social trends, the nonprofit sector is experiencing an influx of technological advancements. The future is bright for nonprofits that are willing and ready to adapt to these changes. As we move into 2024, the focus will be on harnessing these trends to enhance operations, improve efficiency, and ultimately achieve mission goals. 

Social Media Trends

The importance of understanding and leveraging social trends cannot be understated. Trish Riswick, a team lead on the Hootsuite social team, highlighted how their annual trends report has been critical in discerning three major trends – ROI, platform, and AI. Nonprofits must focus on generating engaging content, eliminating self-promotion, and transitioning to a consumer-centric approach on social media platforms. Harnessing the power of entertainment and educational content can build stronger relationships with audiences and drive engagement.

AI: How Nonprofit Marketing Professionals Should Work With the Robot

Joel Harrison, a marketing and messaging consultant for nonprofits, focused on AI’s roles in optimizing efficiency in communications. There’s no denying how much AI has played a pivotal role in recent years, from email drafts and website copies to presentations and outlines. Despite its immense benefits, challenges like copyright infringement, accuracy, context, and repetitive content remain. Therefore, organizations need to establish rules to guide their utilization of AI, treating it as a junior staff member and retaining human control over final decisions, for more effective use.

Cybersecurity: A Rising Concern for Nonprofits

A look into the future isn’t complete without discussing cybersecurity. Sharlene Gandhi, a tech and data reporter at Future of Good, brought our attention to the increasing cyber threats targeting nonprofits. Dealing with cyber attacks requires a solid understanding of cybersecurity infrastructure, software, and training. It’s about protecting data, ensuring its availability and integrity while safeguarding its confidentiality. Running internal audits, creating policies, and paying keen attention to cybersecurity insurance were among the strategies shared.

Harnessing AI for Effective Grant Proposals

Deepa Chaudhary of @impactdaos demonstrated how AI could be used to generate grant proposals quickly. She showed the process of using AI to create a complete grant proposal for TechSoup Connect BC, streamlining and simplifying what is traditionally a time-consuming process. In the future, all nonprofits can look to leverage similar technologies to increase efficiency in their operations. 

Process Automation: The New Frontier

Kevin Mulhall of TechSoup dove into process automation, highlighting how repetitive tasks can be automated to increase efficiency and reduce human error. By using tools like Zapier and Power Automate, organizations are put in a prime position to streamline workflows, reducing redundancy and enhancing effectiveness.

Decentralization for Civil Society

Jesse McKee, the head of strategy for a nonprofit called 221A, discusses the trends and opportunities in the digital space for nonprofit organizations. He highlights the concept of decentralization and the emergence of Web3, where infrastructure and platforms are being dispersed into smaller spaces and individuals have more control over their own infrastructure. 221A has been conducting experimental research in areas such as blockchain technology and is working on projects like a community-run free Wi-Fi network and a Node Library for decentralized hardware and infrastructure. They believe that decentralized technology can be used alongside centralized technology to address the needs of civil society in the future.

5-Minute Data Analytics: The Bare Essentials for Busy Nonprofits

Amy Hooper, a content marketing and copywriting professional, discusses basic best practices for content marketing in the nonprofit sector. She emphasizes the importance of creating high-quality, audience-focused content and includes tips on using relevant links and calls to action. Amy also highlights key metrics to track, such as views, bounce rates, and conversions, to measure the performance of the content.

Applying Startup Innovation to Creating Social Impact

Mina Damian, a former nonprofit sector employee turned startup advisor, discusses the problem of leveraging technology in the nonprofit sector and highlights the benefits of using innovative startup solutions.

Human-Centered AI

A presentation by Meena Das, CEO of Namaste Data, on the importance of human-centric AI and five key considerations for nonprofits when implementing AI solutions.

Process & Workflow Automation

Process and workflow automation involve using technology to perform repetitive tasks or processes without human intervention. By automating routine activities, nonprofits can streamline and optimize workflows, reduce errors, and enhance efficiency. This technology utilizes algorithms, scripts, or workflows designed to execute and manage automated processes. TechSoup’s Kevin Mulhall takes a closer look at some examples and tools in the automation space.

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REPLAY: Create A Social Strategy in 7 Steps

Missed TechSoup Connect BC’s November 7 event Create A Social Strategy in 7 Steps? Here’s the video replay.

📘 Download the slides

We are truly grateful for the invaluable insights and expertise shared by our speaker, Trish Riswick of Hootsuite. With her extensive knowledge and experience in the field, Trish has provided our audience with a wealth of information that will undoubtedly prove beneficial in their professional endeavors.

During her engaging presentation, Trish delved into various aspects of social media management, shedding light on the latest trends, best practices, and effective strategies to enhance online presence and engagement. Her practical tips and actionable advice have equipped our audience with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape with confidence.

Links from Trish

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We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events.

Eli, Ben, Syju, and the leadership team of TechSoup Connect Western Canada

REPLAY: Using Digital Tools for Health Behaviour Change

Missed TechSoup Connect BC’s October 17 event Using Digital Tools for Health Behaviour Change? Fear not, because we have a recording!

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The presentation discussed using digital tools for health behavior change, focusing on the use of chatbots, brand lift studies, and surveys. The speakers also discussed the importance of building upon existing knowledge and initiatives to create effective campaigns. Chatbots, such as those developed by Girl Effect, can be a useful tool to normalize healthy behaviors and provide health services integrated into the chat flows. Brand lift studies, using Facebook and Instagram ads, can measure the impact of a campaign on the audience’s attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge towards a particular topic. Surveys are also an effective way to gather information and increase knowledge about healthcare topics. The speakers emphasized the importance of small organizations exploring different approaches to find what works best for their specific needs.


We would like to thank our expert speakers for sharing their expertise:

Julie Szabo
https://www.linkedin.com/in/julieszabo/
julie@capulet.com

Syju John
https://www.linkedin.com/in/syju-john/
syju88@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you at our future events.


Eli, Ben, Syju, and the leadership team of TechSoup Connect Western Canada

REPLAY: Unlocking Your Theory of Change: Empowering You to Strategize and Measure Impact

Missed our event Unlocking Your Theory of Change: Empowering You to Strategize and Measure Impact? Here is the replay!

Resources

📘 Download the slides

🗺️ Guide: Digitally Transform Your Purpose-Driven Organization: A Simplified Approach to a Digital Transformation Roadmap

We thank our expert speaker Juan José Hidd of COMUNiTi LLP. You can connect with Juan at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jjhidd/

REPLAY: Telling Your Analytics Story: How to Effectively Measure Success on Social

Missed our September 12 event “Telling Your Analytics Story: How to Effectively Measure Success on Social”? Here is the video replay.

We would like to thank our expert speakers from Hootsuite, Social Impact Manager Laura Zubick and Social Media Strategist Laura Rychlik.

Please find the slides from today’s presentation here. The Hootsuite team is also excited to share the following resources with you:  

REPLAY: How to Create a Digital-First Community

Here is the video replay from our July 18, 20223 event “How to Create a Digital-First Community with DAOs”, presented by the TechSoup Connect Western Canada Chapter.

You can also download the slides.

We would like to thank our expert speaker, Deepa Chaudhary, Founder of  Impact DAO Media, who shared their knowledge and experience with Decentralized Autonomous Organzations.

Event Links

REPLAY: Get More From Google Analytics 4: Everything A Nonprofit Needs To Know

Thank you for joining us for our June 27, 2023″Get More From Google Analytics 4: Everything A Nonprofit Needs To Know”, presented by the TechSoup Connect Western Canada Chapter. We hope that you found the session informative and helpful.

We would like to thank our expert speaker, David Lisowsky, Founder of  Regroup Media, who shared his knowledge and experience with Google Analytics.

Download his action sheets and templates at https://ga4.regroupmedia.ca/