AI, the journey so far

Our first in-person event of the year, held on 21st May 2024, featured insights from sector leaders Stuart Wilson and Arran Sanderson from WaterAid. They shared their experiences in adopting generative AI tools, showcasing how AI can revolutionise charity operations. Here’s a breakdown of the key points and takeaways.

Generative AI, which includes tools like ChatGPT and OpenAI, generates new content such as text, images, and videos. Comparable to interns, these tools require guidance but significantly boost productivity when used effectively.




The AI Adoption Journey

Exploration: Identifying areas where AI can add value.
Governance: Establishing an AI policy with clear guidelines, data protection measures, and tracking AI tool usage.
Experimentation: Testing AI tools through small pilot projects and scaling successful ones.
Implementation: Deploying effective AI tools across the organisation.
Create an AI Group: Coordinate activities, prevent duplication, and encourage collaboration.




Copilot for Microsoft
Microsoft 365’s Copilot securely integrates with organisational data, serving as a personal assistant for tasks such as administrative work, data analysis, content creation, minute-taking, and diary management.



Addressing Common Questions

Aligning AI with Goals: Ensure AI initiatives align with organisational objectives.
Starting Fresh vs. Dialogue: Engage in iterative dialogue with AI tools instead of starting from scratch.
Publishing AI Content: Carefully review AI-generated content before publishing.
Confidential Data Safety: Prioritise secure tools like Microsoft 365, avoiding less secure options like ChatGPT.
Manpower and Costs: Enthusiastic individuals, IT collaboration, and senior leadership support are essential. Initial preparation costs can amount to around £10k.
Creating a Culture for Change: Begin with early adopters and gradually expand.
Equipping with AI as a PA: Incorporate AI tools into daily routines while upholding ethical standards.



Top Tips and Takeaways

  • Guide and supervise AI tools like interns to enhance productivity.
  • Foster dialogue to refine AI outcomes.
  • Provide clear instructions for optimal results.
  • Utilise AI for resource-intensive tasks such as code checking and document reviews.
  • Establish clear AI policies to ensure data protection and compliance.
  • Coordinate AI activities through dedicated groups to encourage collaboration.
  • Start with small pilots and scale up successful projects.
  • Ensure widespread adoption by involving representatives from various teams.
  • Prioritise data security by using tools like Microsoft Copilot.
  • Explore options like Microsoft’s technology grants to support AI initiatives.


Get some free help 

Microsoft offers various technology grants for nonprofits, providing valuable resources for charities seeking to integrate AI. For further information, visit Microsoft Tech Community. Additionally, the ServiceNow grant, shared by SmartDesc, is worth exploring. Follow SmartDesc on social media and attend their webinar on Copilot and nonprofit licensing for additional insights.


If you would like to discuss this further or talk about a recruitment campaign, please contact myself or one of the team on 020 3006 2787 or [email protected].