As fundraisers and leaders in the nonprofit sector, we are constantly seeking ways to maximize our time and energy. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) presents an opportunity to carve out more space for authentic engagement by boosting efficiency, streamlining workflows, and hopefully providing the much-needed support to infuse our work with genuine energy. During a recent gathering at the Colorado Thought Leadership Forum (CTLF), industry leaders David Lewien, CEO, and Tom Hynek, President, of “GoWest IT”, delved into the practical applications of AI then led a discussion on how to balance the use of AI while remaining authentic. Here are some ‘aha!’ moments from the discussion:

Enhancing Efficiency to Foster Authentic Connections:

AI tools offer the potential to streamline processes, freeing up time for more meaningful interactions. Tasks like automated email responses, summarizing lengthy articles, or structuring meeting outlines can be delegated to AI, allowing us to channel our energy into cultivating genuine connections with others. We can think of these uses of AI much the same as using a calculator to crunch numbers so we can tackle more theoretical math problems. In fact, when AI helps with tedium and even robust content creation, we are able to better invest resources into intellectual and experiential contributions rather than productivity.  In this way AI isn’t replacing our human interactions, but allowing us more time to make those connections ourselves!

Practical Tips!
  • See an article that looks interesting, but don’t have time to read the whole thing? Pop it into your AI and ask it to write an outline of major points. 
  • Wondering what your competitors are offering that you’re not? Pay the $20 to get ChatGPTplus, and ask it to scour the internet for RFPs from your competitors. 
  • Making an excel spreadsheet and looking to punch above your weight? Ask AI to create formulas to synthesize your data. 

Considerations on When to Use AI in Communication:

While AI can be a valuable asset, it’s crucial to discern when its application is appropriate. Personalized communication and the human touch remain indispensable, especially in sensitive discussions or relationship-building endeavors. It’s vital to weigh the context and audience carefully to determine whether AI tools will augment or impede authentic communication. Remember, the aim is to leverage AI to enhance meaningful interactions, not to replace human engagement. Referencing our discussion on High Value Questions, our focus should be on dedicating time to the most impactful tasks.

Practical Tips! 
  • Want to use AI to create posts that still sound like you? Ask AI to match your voice by copying and pasting a selection of your existing posts into your AI of choice.
  • Need to write a difficult email, or have a difficult conversation? Use AI to brainstorm – write and speak your own words when the time comes, but call in AI to be your wingman during the thinking process. 

Energy and Engagement:

The energy we bring to our interactions profoundly influences our productivity and the quality of our connections. Aligning AI usage with our personal and professional energy goals ensures that technology complements rather than detracts from authentic engagement. This consideration is paramount as we integrate AI into our daily workflow. Our objective is to utilize AI to cultivate more engaging and genuine interactions. In other words: your energy matters! The way you approach people and problems matters, and the energy you bring to those interactions matters. Don’t ever forget to arrive as your best self. How can AI help you do that? 

Practical Tips! 
  • Taking that well earned, and much needed vacation? Ask AI to create an itinerary to get your creative juices flowing! 
  • Looking for a way to add some levity into your meetings or emails? Ask AI to write dad jokes for you. 

Leveraging AI to create space for authentic engagement requires a thoughtful approach that balances efficiency with human connection. By taking into account the context, and audience we can harness the power of technology while upholding the essence of genuine communication. As we navigate the evolution of AI let’s uphold authenticity as the cornerstone of meaningful interactions.

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This article was written collaboratively by the team at LSC, with the help from AI, and was inspired by the members of CTLF, and David Lewien and Tom Hynek of GoWest IT.