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Nonprofits know it is important to plan. But what risks can arise from planning (or lack of it) that should be accounted for as part of nonprofit risk management? This week’s post in this series asks the popular AI program ChatGPT to answer that question. 

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 planning.

ChatGPT’s Answer

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

  1. Lack of clarity in mission and goals: Nonprofits may struggle with defining and communicating their mission and goals, which can result in ineffective operations and a lack of support from stakeholders.
  2. Inadequate strategic planning: Nonprofits may not have a well-defined strategic plan, which can result in ineffective operations, reduced program delivery, and a lack of support from stakeholders.
  3. Resistance to change: Nonprofits may face resistance from staff, board members, or stakeholders to changes in policies, procedures, or programs, which can result in reduced productivity and a lack of support.
  4. Inadequate resources: Nonprofits may struggle with securing adequate resources, including funding, staff, and volunteers, which can limit their ability to achieve their mission and goals.
  5. Inadequate stakeholder engagement: Nonprofits may struggle with engaging stakeholders, including beneficiaries, donors, and partners, which can result in a lack of support and reduced program delivery.
  6. Inadequate data and metrics: Nonprofits may not have adequate data and metrics in place to measure their impact, which can limit their ability to make informed decisions and demonstrate their value to stakeholders.
  7. Short-term focus: Nonprofits may focus too much on short-term goals and objectives, rather than considering long-term impacts and sustainability, which can limit their ability to achieve their mission in the long run.
  8. Failure to anticipate and respond to external changes: Nonprofits must be prepared to anticipate and respond to external changes, such as economic trends, demographic shifts, and new competitors, which can impact their ability to achieve their mission and goals.

    Notes and Questions Based on This Answer

    How many of these planning issues affect your nonprofit? When we work with organizations to begin implementing nonprofit risk management, planning issues regularly show up in risk registers. Most organizations struggle to involve staff throughout the ranks in the planning process. As a result, staff tends not to understand either the organization’s objectives or their particular role in achieving those goals. 

    What other planning risks should be on your radar? In my book, Managing Your Nonprofit for Resilience, I provide 3e2 additional issues you can ask about your planning function as part of your nonprofit risk management work.

    If you are thinking about how to incorporate AI into your risk management planning to help address some of these risks, 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.

    (As previously noted, 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 planning risks in the style of Vincent Van Gogh.)