Exploring Generative AI for Community Organisations

Exploring generative AI for community organisations

Written by Ruth Hislop-Gill, Senior Project Manager – Evolve

In collaboration with Hackney and Tower Hamlets Councils for Voluntary Service (CVS), the Connect Team recently hosted a workshop on Generative AI (Gen AI), bringing together community organisations across east London. Delivered by volunteers from ELBA’s business partners, the session aimed to explore how this innovative technology could be leveraged to enhance the third sector, particularly in writing funding applications.

Generative AI and the third sector?
Generative AI, a subset of artificial intelligence, involves algorithms capable of creating new content, from text to images and music. For community organisations, the potential benefits are significant, especially in streamlining and enhancing the process of drafting funding applications – a task which is often time consuming and repetitive.

The focus of the workshop was on using platforms such as Chat GPT to transform the way charities tell their stories to funders and whether they could make applications more compelling and succinct. Participants had the opportunity to play around with this platform with support from volunteers who work with Gen AI every day. 

The session raised lots of questions about the ethical use of AI, data privacy and how funders are interacting with charities using AI to produce funding applications. We touched on the need to balance the efficiency of AI with the need to maintain a human touch in our narratives as well as the importance of having a standardised AI policy for charity staff to refer to.

Reflections and future directions
Feedback from the workshop participants has been brilliant:

I found the session really thought provoking. It has opened my eyes to how I can use AI to work more effectively. I thought all the speakers were excellent.”

I now feel confident to start exploring using AI and the different ways I can do this.

Having the space to experiment with Gen AI is crucial for community organisations as we continue thinking about its role in the third sector. It’s only with this dedicated time that our community partners can grow in confidence and start to integrate these platforms effectively into their working culture. 

At ELBA we want to create more spaces for this learning and we will aim to provide ongoing resources and guidance, helping the third sector in east London navigate the complexities of adopting this technology while maintaining ethical standards and human nuance.

For more information on future workshops reach out to us at community@elba-1.org.uk.

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