Blog Post

Nonprofit-specific responsible AI frameworks

By: Marco Campana
May 24, 2023

Digital transformation remains a daunting process. And it's been recently compounded with the AI tipping point. AI is now something on everyone's radar because of the rise of Generative AI, highlighted by ChatGPT and resulting massive investments and accelerated timelines releasing competitor products and technologies.

I'm sharing some interesting resources I thought you might find useful.

In particular, I wonder how nonprofit-specific AI frameworks like these might be useful for you as you think through where AI fits into your work and flow.

The tools are helpful for anyone anywhere on the continuum, from experimenting with ChatGPT to using AI in your existing tools as they emerge (eg. Canva, Notion, MS 365, etc.) and for those contemplating or actively working on AI development in their work.

You'll note that the tools are a few years old. You know, back when we could have been thinking about all of this with cooler heads, not under the current AI hysteria. Which means they're thoughtful and not responsive to that hysteria. They're useful to use to ground yourself.

I think it's important to have resources available from like-minded, similarly-structured, and mission-driven organizations that look at technology responsibly, as a potential tool to use rather than getting caught up in what's currently shiny!

AI Suitability Framework for Nonprofits (2020)
This deck provides 32 questions for nonprofits to answer when considering whether and how to incorporate AI into their work.This resource was created to help those in the nonprofit sector interested in exploring artificial intelligence (AI) and incorporating it into their work, providing questions to ask at each stage of AI implementation. This deck draws on insights from past and current examples of the nonprofit sector leveraging AI and has been informed by a diverse group of stakeholders, including NetHope members, UN agencies, technology providers, donors, and researchers.

Direct link to PPT framework.

Also, their Artificial Intelligence (AI) Ethics for Nonprofits - Toolkit (2020). It includes:

  • AI Ethics for Nonprofits Workshop: Facilitator Guide.
  • AI Ethics for Nonprofits Workshop master slide deck
  • AI Ethics Workshop Case Studies
  • Key AI Ethics Concepts
  • Example Miro board for workshop breakouts
  • AI/ML Terms and Definitions

The resources are a great complement to an interesting corporate document from Dataiku (Defining a Successful AI Project (2019)). Useful, but not nonprofit-focused.

The Furniture Bank is doing some very interesting work on AI, and sharing! I highly recommend some reading and then connecting with them about how they're implementing AI:

Why Furniture Bank Has a Responsible AI Manifesto
"Furniture Bank’s commitment to ethical AI is rooted in our desire to leverage technology in a manner that aligns with our values and enhances the lives of those we serve. Our AI guidelines serve as a moral compass, ensuring that our use of AI is transparent, human-centered, and accountable."

How AI Art Works?
How Furniture Bank created AI photos of poverty without harming those they seek to help

Using AI to avoid "poverty porn"
Instead of trying to capture the realities of furniture poverty through a traditional camera, Furniture Bank used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create their images.

How we created AI photos of poverty?
How Furniture Bank continues their digital transformation by applying AI tools for a bigger impact on their Annual Campaign

Hope you find this stuff useful.

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