AI for nonprofits: Taking the first steps

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .



As AI accelerated into wider adoption for everyone in 2023, nonprofits met the opportunity with a healthy mix of optimism for the opportunities AI offers – with concerns around how to adopt AI responsibly and with their given resources.


Three of the most common points of resistance nonprofits voice in regards to AI adoption are:

  1. Getting started: The options and use cases are endless. What’s the easiest way to start adding AI into existing workstreams?
  2. Costs: With constrained budgets, how do we add AI tools into our budget?
  3. Organizational readiness: How do we get our teams trained on AI tools quickly and affordably?


You are already using AI

AI may sound new, but you are already using AI across multiple scenarios. AI adoption is widespread and has been for many years – demonstrating its reliability and usability. Microsoft Copilot is a more recent extension of AI capabilities that has brought AI to everyone.

  • Autocorrect and predictive text in Word, Outlook, and mobile phones
  • Fraud detection across your financial institutions
  • Security features on your phone, your desktop, and infrastructure
  • Face recognition to unlock your phone
  • Photo editing in most mobile apps


AI you can use for free

One of the easiest ways to get your teams comfortable with AI is to simply start using it and understanding the potential of AI. These tools are free to use and can help build familiarity with AI:

  • Microsoft Designer lets you generate anything from social media assets and banners to fantastical imaginary images.
  • Microsoft Copilot can be used for anything from quick searches that give answers with context and meaning based on many sources, to summarization of long content, to complex tasks like writing and editing letters. You’ll get a sense of how Copilot can extract meaning and generate content iteratively and collaboratively.
  • If you already use Microsoft Word, start using Dictate and Transcribe for free. You’ll get a sense of how easily it can take audio or video files and transcribe them. You can also use it to transcribe meetings, record who said what, and seamlessly create notes that you can use in recaps, content, and more. While you won’t get the added capabilities of Copilot’s summarization and interoperability with Teams and Outlook, you’ll get a preview of how clear and useful AI-powered voice-to-text can accelerate writing and business processes.
  • If you already use PowerPoint, the Designer feature is an example of how AI can co-create to help you organize information visually, determine hierarchies, find complementary images, and more. Designer is already included in your Microsoft 365 subscription. While it doesn’t include the powerful writing, summarization, and context design that Copilot offers, PowerPoint Designer can be a good first step at learning how AI can simplify design tasks.


AI skills and learning resources for free

  • Accelerate your AI fluency with our free learning pathways: You’ll find courses for any skill level, from getting started with Copilot to building your own AI apps, as well as responsible AI governance.
  • Find more learning pathways: The Digital Skills Hub has toolkits, courses offered in multiple languages, and paths for AI, sustainability, and cybersecurity.
  • TechSoup: Choose from easy micro learning videos, one-hour webinars, downloadable resource guides or one-hour learning tracks.


AI solutions for nonprofits

Microsoft Tech for Social Impact is dedicated to providing affordable and accessible technology and tools to help nonprofits of all sizes achieve their missions. That’s why we offer grants and discounts of our products and services to eligible nonprofits around the world, including cloud and AI solutions like Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365, as well as solutions custom-built for nonprofits like Fundraising and Engagement.


Below is a summary of offers and AI capabilities for nonprofits. For the most current solutions and pricing, visit Pricing shown below is subject to change and eligibility. Read more about getting started with Microsoft nonprofit offers.


AI in Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 Business Premium:

  • Best for small and mid-sized nonprofits that need email, Office desktop applications, cloud file storage and sharing, audio and HD video, and device management.
  • Free for up to 10 users and discounted pricing of $5.50 (USD) per user/month for additional users.
  • Copilot for Microsoft 365: Achieve more than ever before using AI. Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 offers AI-powered chat that is integrated with Teams, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and other Microsoft 365 apps – with enterprise-grade security, privacy, and compliance. $30.00 (USD) per user/month.

AI in Business Applications

Power Apps

  • IT teams can make app development more efficient and secure with Power Apps.
  • Free for up to 10 users and discounted pricing of $2.50 (USD) per user/month available for additional users.
  • Power Apps Premium is available for $5 (USD) for more advanced capabilities.

Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise

  • Enable full relationship management with constituents, volunteers, and program participants.
  • Discounted pricing of $23.80 (USD) per user/month.

Copilot Lineup for Business Applications

  • Copilot capabilities are included Dynamics 365 Apps and Power Platform solutions at no additional fee.
  • Copilot for Sales (for fundraisers and business development) and Copilot for Service (for customer service professionals) integrate into your CRM system of record. $50 (USD) per user/month, which includes Copilot for Microsoft 365.
  • With Copilot Studio, Microsoft’s low-code conversational AI solution, nonprofits can easily build their own copilots, also known as conversational bots, to respond to constituents quickly.


The first steps to AI transformation


AI transformation presents a new world of productivity and creativity. And while the vast options for solutions and use cases can feel overwhelming, the best way to start is to build familiarity – in the tools you use now, with free tools, and with free training.


Familiarity and playing with AI tools is key to building organizational alignment as well. Once people see and use AI-powered tools, they quickly realize the potential that AI offers to streamline everyday tasks. From there, your organization can ideate and expand AI adoption to more complex challenges.

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