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Public backs charity access to AI, research finds

"AI must not be the privilege of the few"

People around the world recognise the benefits that Artificial Intelligence can bring to further charitable causes, according to new research from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). Indeed, most people (70%) believe that efforts should be made to help charities of different sizes and resources to access AI.

Ahead of Microsoft’s first Global Non-Profit Leaders Summit in Seattle, which a thousand non-profit leaders are expected to attend, CAF is encouraging technology companies to consider how charities of all sizes can access the opportunities opened up by AI.

With the pros and cons of AI never far from the headlines, the research sought to understand views about the opportunities and risks to charities of using AI. For one of the first major studies on this issue, the research involved more than 6,000 people in 10 countries: UK, USA, Australia, Japan, Poland, Indonesia, Kenya, India, Brazil and Turkey.

Although the research found some have their reservations, people are generally supportive about charities using AI. The most compelling opportunities for charities are those that help them to have a greater direct human benefit. More than a quarter (28%) thought the most exciting opportunity was how AI could help with a faster response to disasters, and 25% thought that it was the potential ability of AI to allow charities to help more people.

The research found that people who donate more to charity tend to be more positive about charities using AI, with those considered higher donors in their country being more likely to appreciate the benefits. However, people believe that charities should be cautious and transparent about how they use AI. The significant majority (83%) of charity donors said they would pay attention to how a charity said it was using AI, with higher donors more likely to take notice.

Neil Heslop OBE, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation said:

"AI must not be the privilege of the few. We must work together with the technology industry to ensure it is accessible for small and large charities. Digital advances have great potential to support charities to further their missions and accelerate social progress. As a starting point, AI could help target disaster relief more effectively, decrease the time spent on administrative tasks and improve operations.

"Charities need to also remain alert to the risks, stay close to the human essence of their cause and communicate clearly with donors to further social impact."  

Notes to Editors
  1. What the public think of charities using AI
  2. Neil Heslop is speaking at a plenary session, ‘How are Nonprofits using AI?’, at Microsoft’s Global Nonprofit Leaders Summit on 31st January 2024 in Washington, US.
  3. In 2024, Charities Aid Foundation marks 100 years as an organisation at the centre of the giving world. In a century, we have grown to become a leading charity that exists to accelerate progress in society towards a fair and sustainable future for all, distributing over £1 billion to charities around the world last year. CAF uses its unique position to bring charities, business, and philanthropists together to simplify how people give, allowing charities to focus more on the great work they do. Together, we give more.
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