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Continuing a series we began last week about common nonprofit risk management issues, today we ask the popular AI program ChatGPT to help nonprofit leaders identify risks relating to information technology (IT) — the electronic tools nonprofits use to perform tasks in our increasingly interconnected world. When we help organizations adopt nonprofit risk management processes, IT risks always rise to the top of the “must-address” issues. 

The Nonprofit Risk Management Prompt

We seeded ChatGPT with the following prompt about nonprofit risk management:

Acting as a journalist, describe common risks that nonprofits face relating to IT.

ChatGPT’s Answer

As a language model AI, I don’t have personal experiences, but here’s a list of common IT risks that nonprofits face based on my training data:

  1. Cybersecurity threats: Nonprofits are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats such as hacking, phishing, and malware attacks, which can result in the loss or theft of sensitive data.
  2. Data breaches: Data breaches can occur due to a variety of reasons, including system failures, human error, and malicious attacks. Such breaches can result in the loss of confidential information and significant harm to the organization and those it serves.
  3. Technology failures: Nonprofits rely on technology to support their operations, and any failures or downtime can result in lost productivity and potentially lost revenue.
  4. Inadequate technology infrastructure: Nonprofits may have inadequate technology infrastructure to support their operations, which can result in slow systems, data loss, and other risks.
  5. Lack of IT support: Nonprofits may not have access to adequate IT support, which can result in the inability to resolve technical issues in a timely manner.
  6. Compliance and regulatory risk: Nonprofits must comply with various laws and regulations relating to data privacy, security, and other IT-related matters. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, legal consequences, and reputational damage.
  7. Software obsolescence: Nonprofits may have outdated software that is no longer supported, which can result in security vulnerabilities and the inability to support new technologies.
  8. Dependence on a single vendor: Nonprofits may be overly dependent on a single vendor for their technology needs, which can result in significant risks if that vendor experiences financial difficulties or goes out of business.

Notes and Questions Based on This Answer

How many of these IT issues affect your nonprofit?

What other IT risks should be on your radar? In my new book, Managing Your Nonprofit for Resilience, I provide 16 additional issues you can ask about your IT function as part of your nonprofit risk management work.

How might you incorporate AI into your risk management planning to help address some of these risks? You can reach out to me here at Risk Alternatives for suggestions, including resources for getting better results when using AI. Alternatively, you can create a ChatGPT account for yourself to begin exploring how AI could impact your organization.

(By the way, all of the art for this series on common nonprofit risks was generated by Midjourney, another AI program. I asked that program to generate images about IT risks in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. I particularly like the sunflowers in the lower left image.)