What Nonprofits can Accomplish with Microsoft Copilot AI - Heller Consulting

What Nonprofits can Accomplish with Microsoft Copilot AI

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to make headlines, you might be thinking more about how your nonprofit should be using AI. It can help to understand what tools and capabilities are available and how you can start preparing to use them.

A great place to start is to understand the Copilot AI functionality that is accessible across the Microsoft environment.

Let’s take a closer look at Microsoft Copilot, how nonprofits can put it to use, and how you can prepare to take advantage of AI tools.

What is Microsoft Copilot?

Microsoft Copilot is artificial intelligence functionality that works across all Microsoft products, including Outlook, Teams, Dynamics, and the Power platform. As a versatile AI assistant, it is designed to enhance your productivity by automating a variety of tasks and processes.

For instance, Microsoft Copilot can assist you in a wide range of activities, from composing a heartfelt thank you letter to creating visually compelling images. It can also write sophisticated code for a web page or perform in-depth analysis of your data, transforming it into actionable insights. In short, it can help you do more and do it faster.

One of the key benefits of opting for Microsoft Copilot AI over other AI tools, such as ChatGPT, is the robust security framework that Microsoft has established. This framework is meticulously designed to safeguard against potential risks, particularly when handling sensitive information. By preventing the need to upload confidential data to external third-party applications, which may fall outside your organization’s secure technology infrastructure, Microsoft Copilot ensures that your data remains protected within a trusted environment.

Another advantage of using Microsoft Copilot is that it supports no/low-code usage. So, for example, you can use natural-language prompts (versus needing to use code or special language) to initiate AI tasks. This user-friendly approach standardizes technology, enabling your workforce to leverage advanced tech capabilities without requiring extensive technical expertise. As a result, your team can become more technologically proficient and innovative, even if they do not possess a background in IT.

How can nonprofits use Microsoft Copilot?

Because Microsoft Copilot can be used for so many different purposes, it helps to have more context around how it can be used in a nonprofit setting. For example, consider how nonprofits can use Copilot functionality in Fundraising and Engagement, the customer relationship management (CRM) solution in Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit that is tailored to nonprofits.

Using Copilot functionality in Fundraising and Engagement, you can do things like:

  • Analyze donor behavior and preferences
  • Identify potential donors
  • Create personalized engagement strategies

Here’s a more specific example of how a nonprofit can use Copilot functionality in Fundraising and Engagement: A “likelihood to donate” feature is an AI-powered donor propensity model that’s built into Fundraising and Engagement. It uses AI to find behavioral trends and demographic insights from a nonprofit’s Fundraising and Engagement data to help predict current and future giving opportunities for each donor. This forecast helps nonprofits to create new segments of donors so that they can tailor their outreach to them based on their likelihood to give.

Another example: Fundraising and Engagement is often used with Microsoft Customer Insights, a marketing solution that helps manage audience segmentation, email communications, and campaigns. Using Copilot with these two solutions, nonprofits can describe the type of audience segment and email communication they would like to create and send, and based on the information they feed into Copilot, Copilot can suggest specific recommendations, such as campaigns and donation opportunities that each donor would be interested in based on the donor’s profile.

Three tips to prepare your nonprofit for AI adoption

No matter what tools your nonprofit decides to use, to get the most out of AI, it’s critically important to first pay attention to your data and your staff’s use of AI. Here are three practical tips to help you prepare for adopting any AI tool in your organization:

  1. Consider your data quality. AI is only as accurate as the data that feeds it. If your organization has unreliable data, then you can’t count on AI to work well. So, if you have duplicate, inaccurate, or outdated data, it’s time to clean it up. It’s also time to develop or update a data governance strategy to help ensure your data stays in good order.
  2. Develop AI guidelines. When you begin using any new technology like AI, it’s important to set up guidelines for how your organization will use it. Create an initial AI policy that provides your staff with guidance on using AI. It should include guardrails that help ensure its use is consistent with your organization’s technology, security, and privacy policies. You can continue to update your AI policy as your organization evolves.
  3. Plan for staff training. As with any new technology, your organization will get the most out of AI if your staff knows how to use it optimally. Be sure to allow time for training that helps your staff understand how the AI tools work, what they can do, and the impact of the tools on various processes across the organization.

Learn more about AI for your nonprofit

The breadth of AI tools and capabilities available today might seem overwhelming, but they offer tremendous productivity benefits – ultimately saving your staff time that can be better spent on work that directly impacts your mission.

You can learn more about Microsoft Copilot through their digital skilling hub.

Our team here at Heller Consulting is also ready to help. We offer an AI Preparedness Assessment for Nonprofits to help guide you through responsible AI adoption. We’re ready to help you assess challenges associated with AI, uncover opportunities for strategic use of AI, and develop an AI strategy and roadmap. Contact us to learn more and get started.

About the Author

Sparsh Gupta
Sparsh joined Heller Consulting with years of experience in CRM/CE using Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. He has hands-on knowledge of Dynamics CE platform including out-of-the-box customizations and configuration. He also has in-depth knowledge of Power Platform and its... Read More