Artificial Intelligence: Bigger than ever and here to stay

On a recent episode of the Cause+Effect podcast, members of the Dunham Table dove into the topic of Artificial Intelligence and the importance of creating and leveraging innovative technology like AI in order to make more impact. We hope this insight helps to broaden your horizon on this subject and think intentionally about the role AI may or may not play in your organization.


Artificial Intelligence… what is it, again?

Keeping pace with future developments in the world of technology is not an easy task. If you find this concept difficult to grasp, you’re in good company!

But like it or not, AI is now being implemented in a million different ways and its rapid growth is bringing about new and exciting opportunities for nonprofits. It’s important to get a grip on what’s happening in order to access what it means for your organization.

So let’s break it down…

What is AI?

In essence, Artificial Intelligence is technology doing the computing and making decisions in the place of humans.

Historically, you might tell your computer what to do (coding) and it would perform that task. But now, we’re giving technology thought processes to plan the next steps until it is then ‘intelligent’ on its own. This may include things like website building, copywriting, or graphic design.

How is it used?

AI, or machine learning, is meant to codify the past, not necessarily invent the future. When we look at things that leverage logic or different work responsibilities, the technology assesses what has been done before and says, “Based on this logic, this is the right thing to do next.”

“Make my presentation,” “Write this copy,” “Edit my video,” the opportunities are more expansive than ever. And every day we see more growth. One latest development, ChatGPT (generative pre-training) allows users to communicate with a robot through detailed and natural dialogue as if they were speaking to a real human.

AI has been a part of our lives for a while inside our smartphones. For instance, when you open the Photos app, you can search for photos of dogs and your phone knows just what to do. When you talk to Siri, you’re seeing AI at work.

The difference is, since the rise of GPT, the barriers to entry have all but disappeared. For a long time, you needed specialized knowledge and skills to be able to use these tools. Now it’s available to everyone, and it’s often free. 

Getting practical…

At the end of the day, the goal is impact. If we can leverage opportunities to better serve our clients and explore how they can create content through some of these technologies, it’s a win. At Dunham+Company, we’re constantly testing new ways to do that, including creating productivity within our internal teams.

Take for instance an internal meeting in which we need to record a lot of notes. Using something like ‘’ can capture those notes, transcribe them, and share that knowledge internally. Not to mention how much faster we can get the insight we need around fundraising metrics.

AI has the potential to radically transform how much we’re able to produce and how quickly we can do it. This includes ways in which we’ve never even considered. The ability to generate content at a very high quality, very quickly, and at minimal cost is just extraordinary. We’re seeing recent AI copywriting tools and content creation tools that are very affordable and performing well. 

As a ministry, what should I consider before implementing AI?
  1. Is it efficient (and ethical)?

When it comes to AI, the value is efficiency.

But just because something is trending, it doesn’t always mean it’s best for every ministry or organization. It takes wisdom to consider whether this IT investment is efficient for your organization. For ministries, translation, copywriting, or content creation must align with your message, theology, and cause. And it must be ethical. Being very thoughtful as you enter this realm is crucial because it’s simply not all black and white.

  1. Lean in and pay attention.

We often see technology as either a fad or something that’s here to stay. We can say with great confidence: AI is not a fad. On the contrary, it’s ramping up rapidly.

When we began to Google search, we never started Google searching less, we started Google searching more and getting better at it. AI in many ways will be like that.

Experiment with ChatGPT by asking what the new name of your organization should be. Most likely, the more you use it the more you will see the opportunities that lie in front of you. Become familiar with it, pay attention to recent articles, and see where it takes you.

But remember: Whether or not you decide to implement AI within your organization, keep the focus on your people. This technology is no doubt useful, but it’s the people who are using and understanding the technology that matter most.


For more insight into how your organization may benefit from AI and how to best prepare for what’s on the horizon, be sure to listen to the full episode of The Cause+Effect podcast, Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Nonprofit Landscape.

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