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Smart Nonprofits Focus on What Matters Most

Cloud-powered technology liberates resources so organizations can focus

The digital revolution that began two decades ago enabled organizations to share information and communicate with large numbers of people over vast spaces quickly and inexpensively. However, this digital connection and the immediacy it afforded came with a huge cost: the erosion of boundaries between work and home life, resulting in the demand for the always-on and always-connected worker. We are encumbered by the endless, daily battle of email whack-a-mole. Statistically, American workers check their email on average 74 times a day.

A new chapter in digital technology is emerging that operates very differently from the previous generation of digital tech like email and social media that made life faster—but not necessarily better—for workers. It will free workers from the time-consuming, rote tasks that take up 30 percent of staff time. This newly freed time provides nonprofit workers the opportunity to pivot to building relationships, sharing stories, and solving big problems. In other words, workers will be able to spend much more time on meaningful work and less time on busywork.    

In our new book, The Smart Nonprofit, we define this next generation of “smart tech” as the universe of technologies that includes artificial intelligence (AI) and its subsets and cousins, such as machine learning and natural language processes, that all rely on cloud computing. These technologies—rather than individuals—use Library of Congress-size data sets to find patterns and make decisions for people. Current commercial applications are being used by organizations to screen resumes, answer frequently asked and fact-based questions (e.g., “What time do you open?” and “Is my donation tax deductible?”), automatically update budgets, organize meetings, and research donor prospects.

Please select this link to read the complete article from SSIR.

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