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Home » Digital Transformation » Ethical AI solutions allow charities to help more people with fewer resources

Matt Haworth

Founder, Reason Digital

Artificial intelligence can offer major benefits to charities, driving efficiencies in services delivered and enabling an enhanced, personable experience.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers incredible opportunities to those engaged in charitable work; at the same time, implementation poses practical and ethical challenges. Matt Haworth, co-founder of Reason Digital, stresses the need for an ambitious but thoughtful approach to best benefit service users, donors and volunteers.

AI solutions for social impact

Reason Digital is a social enterprise that works exclusively with organisations doing social good. “We work with charities and other pro-social organisations to support them in developing digital strategies and solutions with one goal: to improve the lives of the people they serve,” Haworth explains.

Harnessing AI can enable charities to help more people with fewer resources. It can, for example, mean services previously aiding hundreds can now scale to support tens or hundreds of thousands. “That is the kind of dramatic difference that AI can make,” insists Haworth.

AI is set to have a transformative impact
on charities’ ‘traditional’ digital operations.

Longer-term impacts

More broadly, AI is set to have a transformative impact on charities’ ‘traditional’ digital operations, including websites, apps and backend systems. This has profound implications for how people will engage with charities digitally and take part in critical activities such as digital fundraising, information dissemination and digital connections between volunteers and service recipients. 

Nevertheless, the primary focus should be on leveraging AI ethically. “We are talking to charity CEOs about how we can do more good with AI but what the risks and inbound threats are from adoption of AI,” Haworth continues.

Enabling human interactions

Critically, the approach should not be about replacing a warm human service with a robotic interface. Rather, by utilising AI to streamline administrative tasks, charities can scale their efforts while spending more valuable time providing personalised support.

Haworth points to the example of AI allowing a national charity to scale up safeguarding of volunteer befriending calls, with calls being transcribed and analysed using AI, meaning more interactions can be monitored.

“It enables them to spend more time doing activities that only humans can — being attuned and empathetic for another human in need,” says Haworth. By enhancing people-centric experiences for both beneficiaries and volunteers, charities can foster more meaningful connections in the support they offer.

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