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Microsoft Copilot For NonProfits: A Comprehensive Guide

The growing adoption of AI technology presents new opportunities for various sectors. Microsoft Copilot emerges as a tool with the potential to improve efficiency and data insights specifically for Australian non-profit organisations. This blog post explores the potential of Copilot for non-profits, focusing on its ability to address these challenges.

Microsoft Copilot for Nonprofits: A Feature-by-Feature Look

Non-profits are the heart and soul of our communities, but let’s face it, they often juggle a million things with limited resources. Time? Tight. Expertise? Sometimes patchy. That’s where Microsoft Copilot swoops in – a superhero of sorts in the AI world. Let’s dive in to its key features:

  • Meetings Made Easy: Imagine having a virtual assistant summarise key points from your Teams calls! Copilot automatically generates bullet-point notes, saving you time and ensuring you never miss a critical detail.
  • Never Out of the Loop: Missed a meeting? No problem! Ask Copilot for a quick rundown. It’ll give you the main topics covered, the overall mood, and even who said what.
  • Action Items on Autopilot: Stop wasting time capturing action items from calls. Copilot can do it for you, automatically sending summaries with assigned tasks to attendees in Outlook, OneNote, or To Do.
  • Tame the Email Beast: Drowning in a massive email chain? Let Copilot analyse it for you. It’ll extract the important information and highlight any actions you need to take, saving you valuable time.
  • Data Insights Made Simple: Need to present findings but short on time? Copilot can analyse your documents and generate clear, concise bullet points perfect for your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Unlock Your Data’s Secrets: Got large Excel files that make your head spin? Copilot lets you ask questions in plain English. Get the answers you need and create visualisations like graphs and pivot tables with ease.
  • Content Creation Boost: Struggling to write engaging content for social media? Copilot can help! It can generate blog posts or white papers based on industry trends, data sets, and reports.

Navigating Copilot: Key Considerations for Non-Profits

Copilot for nonprofits offers exciting possibilities for streamlining workflows and improving efficiencies. However, responsible use is key. Here are some key considerations:

  • Governance and Responsible Use: Non-profits need to establish clear guidelines and principles for staff regarding Copilot usage. This should cover aspects like data privacy (i.e. ensuring compliance with Australian Privacy Principles and/or GDPR), ethical considerations surrounding AI, and potential biases within the tool.
  • Security and Permission Management: Copilot surfaces information based on user permissions. A thorough audit of user access rights is crucial. Any unauthorised access will become readily apparent to users, potentially exposing sensitive data. Tightening permissions and implementing data access controls becomes essential.
  • Data Readiness: Copilot’s large language models (LLMs) rely on vast datasets to function effectively. Many non-profits contend with data silos – isolated data stores that are difficult to integrate. To leverage Copilot’s full potential, non-profits may require external expertise to connect these silos and potentially restructure data for AI compatibility.
  • Developing Use Cases: A key question for non-profits is: “How can we leverage Copilot to improve our impact?” This requires creative thinking and understanding the core functionalities of AI and LLMs. Potential use cases could include streamlining donor communication, providing beneficiaries with faster access to information, or even automating repetitive administrative tasks.
  • Training and Upskilling: For successful adoption, staff need training on the possibilities and limitations of Copilot. Providing examples of how Copilot can improve productivity will encourage engagement and create a positive feedback loop. Training should also cover the guidelines and principles established for safe and responsible use of AI tools.

Five Principles for Australian Non-Profits Using Copilot

Australian non-profits can integrate Copilot into their workflows at their own pace, considering their security and technical capabilities. Here are five key principles:

  • Accountability: Staff using generative AI tools must be able to explain and justify any recommendations or decisions made with their assistance. Ultimately, they are responsible for the outcome.
  • Transparency & Explainability: Non-profits should consider clearly marking instances where generative AI was used. Critically examine any information generated by these tools.
  • Privacy & Security: Do not use public generative AI tools for classified, personal, or sensitive information. Ensure compliance with relevant data privacy laws and security best practices.
  • Fairness & Human Values: Be mindful of potential biases within generative AI tools that could disadvantage certain groups. Involve relevant communities in your decision-making processes.
  • Wellbeing & Societal Impact: Utilise generative AI tools to improve overall community well-being and respect the rights of stakeholders. Carefully consider Indigenous data sovereignty and governance practices.

Obtaining Microsoft Copilot for Non-Profits

For Australian non-profit organisations currently utilising Microsoft 365, obtaining access to Microsoft Copilot presents a positive development. Specifically, Copilot is included at no additional cost with certain Microsoft 365 subscription plans, including E3, E5, F3, A3, and A5.

It is important to note that Microsoft Copilot is not currently available with standard Microsoft Non-profit licences. Consequently, many charities that rely on these licences cannot directly access Copilot at this time.

Non-profit organisations are encouraged to consider the following options in preparation for future Copilot availability:

  • Upgrading Microsoft 365 Plans: An evaluation of potential upgrades to Microsoft 365 plans that include Copilot (E3, E5, F3, A3, or A5) can be conducted, if feasible for the organisation.
  • Exploring Bing Chat Enterprise: In the interim, Bing Chat Enterprise may be a suitable alternative solution. This tool offers functionalities that share some similarities with Copilot.

Prep Your Non-Profit for Microsoft Copilot Now!

Microsoft Copilot represents a significant advancement in AI-powered productivity tools. It offers functionalities that can become a valuable tool for non-profit organisations, ultimately enabling them to maximise the impact of their resources.

As Microsoft Solutions Partners, Intelliworx is committed to providing solutions that meet the highest security and compliance standards for all organisations.  If you are a charity interested in a free consultation to explore how to optimise your Microsoft 365 use, please contact us today.


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