Exploring AI in Nonprofits: Insights from Seth Godin & Latest Tech Updates (news)

📌 This week on the Nonprofit News Feed: Join George Weiner, Chief Whaler at Whole Whale, and Nick Azulay, Digital Strategist, as they dive into the latest developments affecting the nonprofit sector.

🔹 Special Guest: Get insights from Seth Godin on raising over $70,000 through positive auctions with GoodBids.org. 🔹 AI Advancements: Discover the implications of OpenAI’s GPT-4.0 and Google’s new AI-driven search overviews for nonprofits. 🔹 Fundraising & Tech: Learn about Whole Whale’s latest rollout of GPT-4.0 for Omni and Gemini image generation with DALL-E 3. 🔹 Google Ad Grant Cohort: Hear about the clever foundation that secured 10 seats for their grantees and the upcoming hands-on learning session. 🔹 Policy Alert: Understand the potential impacts of House Republicans attempting to cut funding for LGBTQ nonprofits. 🔹 Fraud Prevention: Minnesota Attorney General shuts down 17 sham nonprofits defrauding the federal child nutrition program. 🔹 Feel-Good Story: Celebrate the success of Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Build in Charlotte, NC, providing a home for veterans George and Karen.


This week on the nonprofit news feed. Well, my name is George Weiner. I’m the chief whaler of Whole Whale. And we have Nick Azulay, the digital strategist at Whole Whale. We’re excited. You know, we bring you nonprofit news, of course, but we also want to start talking a little bit about what’s going on at Whole Whale.

I’m excited because this week we are also dropping our interview with Seth Godin and His work with good bids. org and how they just in their pilot raised over 70, 000 with positive auctions, all of that to come on this feed on our YouTube channel. Also had a busy week last week because we rolled out GPT 4 0 0 for Omni across all cause writer customers.

And also rolled out the Gemini image generation alongside DALI three. So we’re always pushing the newest and best models to give access to the folks in our cause writer AI. Also, it was pretty funny. There was somebody who reached out for our Google ad grant cohort, a very clever foundation that bought up 10 seats of the ad grant cohort for their grantees and, you know, snapped up all of the early birds.

Very, very smart play by them for our Google ad grant cohort hands on learning coming in July. We have seven seats available as of this recording and you know, they are certainly valuable and going quick and hopefully we can help everyone interested in joining that hands on Google ad grant cohort.

All right, Nick. About Whole Whale, what about the news? George, this is a big one. And I think that, you know, we’re not on just a, any tech podcast, right? We care about nonprofits and tech and digital, but I think last week’s announcement, announcements are too important not to talk about because they will have major implications for nonprofits.

So last week, both. Open AI and Google and then later Microsoft made various announcements about AI offerings. So open AI released its new GPT 4. 0 model. That was the big announcement from them. The big announcement from Google, at least from our perspective is the rollout of search overviews.

You heard us mentioning just last week on the podcast that SGE was coming, search generated experience. Lo and behold, 48 hours later, it was here. So users across the continent of the United States are now seeing AI generated results on their search engine result pages, or SERPs, for a multitude of searches.

We write, as we talk about now we don’t yet know whether this is reflected in Google search console. We don’t know really what the implications will be or have dedicated data to prove how this is impacting search at large. But of course there are pretty major implications, NGOs that rely on organic traffic to drive their mission.

So those are the two big announcements. George, there’s so much to unpack here, and I think we should I think listeners would really enjoy hearing our thoughts about OpenAI and Google’s announcement in particular. But what were your takeaways from this week of just like crazy AI updates from Big Tech?

I think I am always of the mindset of like paying attention to like what happened on like page five. Like there’s always the front news. There’s always the like, hey everybody look over here. Yet the most groundbreaking things, the things that will have The biggest impacts are like happening deeper in the paper.

And you have to look a little deeper. And that AI overview is not to be underestimated. We’ve been talking about it for over a year. We have been preparing our clients and preparing mitigation strategies at a high level. It’s not just the nonprofit sector, but everyone in media, they understand what this means.

Immediately that they are being disintermediated from the flow of information from this discovery process that we have, frankly, given to Google. We gave them our data and information in exchange for attention measured in clicks. And now those clicks are going to go away. However, I think there’s enough, you know, fear, uncertainty and doubt floating about I’m beginning to position our team, our strategy and our clients around a new idea, which is a larger digital footprint.

And that footprint goes beyond our website. It goes beyond the four walls of our tiny little postage stamp on the internet. And rather, what is our larger footprint as it relates to measurable attention across platforms. That attention also, I am like every day refreshing the Google search console. The Bing search console, right?

I’m refreshing these things so that I can see when they give us access to information about where and how we show up in that AI search overview, understanding how we then influence this LLM. A new vector of LLM optimization, right? Where we say, I get what we used to write and how we used to write, how do we shift toward that I think is part of our new diet in addition to that.

Our text, which you’ve traditionally written those next 10 articles about the information about an apple tree, about a primate, about whatever that topic is, is going to be commoditized by.   A GPT that can write the same thing that can answer the same question in that world. I think you have to change how you compete by producing.

And providing more intellectual property,   more original research things that a GPT doesn’t have access to. And that’s, you know, can come in the form of surveys can come in the form of original research. You can begin to get more creative though. And so I think I’m excited in that sense of, like, it’s going to open up.

Creativity rather than treating us all like little dictionary writers of like, I need the dictionary page for this. Like, frankly, that was always inevitably going to become commoditized if you really looked at it with a large enough lens. So I you know, we’re watching it and that’s just top of the top of the mountain what I’m thinking right now.

Yeah, no, totally George. Subscribe to my sub stack. No, I’m kidding, but I think you bring up some really good points. Right. And, and back to the search overview piece, we’ve been talking about this before. We have links in the nonprofit newsfeed newsletter, which you should all be subscribed to. But even in the GPT 4 0 model.

That is now like available to plus users on chat GPT. It is pinging the internet in real time. We were talking about this yesterday. You used to have to use a plugin and it would kind of like go through Bing and it didn’t really work. If you ask it right now, what is the. The news over the past four hours, it will know and it will tell you, right?

So that brings up real major implications for the dissemination of news, the dissemination of information misinformation, disinformation, like that, that whole nexus, that whole environment. We knew we were going to get there. I don’t quite knew I did. I don’t think anyone quite realized we were going to get there last week.

So that is, I, for me. From a kind of like an anthropological standpoint, right? Like how are, how is this tech interacting with people? That’s among the most major updates we’ve had is you now have these tools that are interacting with news stories in real time, both with search overview on Google’s side and native internet access within GPT 4.

0 which is now being rolled out. So I think just to continue that. That conversation and you know, there’s so many ways we can talk about this. We can talk about, okay, what’s Microsoft copilot doing? What’s the whole Scarlett Johansson thing? Like there’s so many different angles here. And I think a lot of people have a lot of questions.

What’s important, though, is, and something that we’ve been talking about a lot with our clients, right, is, if you’re listening to this podcast, you work at a non profit and if you haven’t already realized this already, you can’t avoid these conversations, you can’t avoid this technology. It is coming, have those conversations with staff, have the conversation about what ethical use of these tools look like within your workflow and your processes.

Talk about the risks, talk about the amazing opportunities, but like have that conversation. And we have some great resources on how to have those conversations, how to draft AI use policies what type of things to think about when it comes to transparency and, and data privacy. The benefits of the API versus when you’re using the free tools, you know, if You’re not paying for the product.

You are the product kind of thing. So a lot to think about. But again, go to our website. Cause George, George is really passionate. I will say about this, go to cause writer. ai go to whole whale. com. There’s tons of free resources. There’s paid resources, but we’re really just trying to work hard.

So that nonprofits don’t get caught lagging behind everybody else. And I think that that’s really important. So, stay tuned, dig into it, and we’ll take it from there. More rants, more rants to come, don’t worry. This is true.

All right, George, I’ll take us to our next one. This one comes from Independent Sector, a outlet that we love. And they talk about the value of volunteer time. So in collaboration with the do good Institute independent center announced that the value of a volunteer hour has risen to 33 49 an hour, marking a 5.

3 percent increase in the previous year. And this figure is based on 2023 data, and it underscores really the, the contributions that volunteers are making to nonprofits. So, essentially, this is applying a, a, an hourly wage assessment to the value of volunteers as they contribute within the nonprofit kind of ecosystem.

And That’s a high number. And George, we talked about this. I don’t think the non profit sector fully recovered from the pandemic still, and the value of non profit volunteers is increasing, probably in concert with a decrease in supply. Yeah, that’s a say, you know, like this is the positive framing of it and the value there, but also hopefully what you can do is use this as a narrative for why invest in volunteers because it unlocks it.

But to be clear, volunteer management is work. It’s not like people showing up for free. I think it is one of the, you know, it’s on my top 10 list of major misnomers, things under misunderstood about the nonprofit sector. Why don’t you just, you know, get volunteers to do it is because it takes staff time.

It takes staff planning. Takes organization to properly execute a volunteer program. And so I’m happy to see this value go up because I think it makes that case internally to be like, when we do it right, we can unlock true value of, of time for for a cause. And what’s more, a volunteer is 10 times more likely to donate to your organization than a non volunteer.

Those are data from. volunteer match over a decade ago, but I will repeat it as many times as I possibly can because it is directionally true. Once someone has become invested with their time, the dollars are easy.

Yeah, George, I think that that’s a great point. It’ll be interesting to see whether this trend continues going forward. We shall see. I’ll take us to our next story. This one comes from MSNBC, and it’s that House Republicans are trying to quietly gut funding for LGBTQ nonprofits. So, House GOP leaders are attempting to block funding for LGBTQ nonprofits through the budget process.

They were targeting community centers and services had limited success because Democrats controlled the Senate. However, new rules set by the House Appropriations Committee chair aim to make all nonprofits ineligible for certain federal funds which could broadly impact social services.

So, George, I think that the key here is that So many nonprofits that provide vital services to communities homeless outreach communities for migrants and immigrants and that kind of thing may very well also provide services to LGBTQ folks particularly LGBTQ, like, youth or homeless folks, et cetera, et cetera.

And it’s disconcerting to see that coming under attack from Congress. I would have hoped at this point, it was a bipartisan agreement that LGBTQ youth are deserving of federal funding, nonprofits supporting this group. I just wish it was moved into the window of, all right, we can both support this. We can both support the troops.

We can both support. So many fundamental basic human rights at that level. So, it’s a little dark to, to see that. And also I hope that alarm bells are raised that like, this is maybe on the list of consequences for regime changes out there to, to motivate anyone who has family, friends, connections, interactions with

Yeah, I think that’s entirely true. Listen, everybody. Get out and vote. That’s all I’m going to say. Vote, because God only knows we need you. All right, this one comes from redlakenationnews. com, but Minnesota Attorney General Ellison has shut down 17 sham nonprofits that were accused allegedly of defrauding the federal child nutrition program following a court order by a judge.

So these nonprofits were created or revived to, to misuse funds meant for feeding children. When they were just. It’s a, you know, a fraud scheme while providing no legitimate activities and failing to comply with investigators. And you can see the names of some of these sham non profits.

But George, I think the takeaway here is our long running theme on this show 501c3 status doesn’t mean you are doing good work. Two, if you are a legitimate non profit doing good work, it’s really important for you to communicate that through all sorts of transparency, have clear mission vision statements, have your Form 990s up there use those annual reports, instill zoner confidence because every time something like this happens, people get a little bit more skeptical, so, you know.

Don’t know what more to say than that other than I guess they caught them. It seems like nonprofit fraud often goes under investigated. So I guess this is good. Yeah. The federal child nutrition program actually was was a target of a disproportionate amount of fraud from the way it was distributed and the speed it needed to be done.

So there’s sort of a natural gravity, unfortunately, to people taking advantage of the system. I added the list of names here, not to name and shame, but just to frankly, but more to draw awareness to names that sound like other names, right? Names that may be close to your organization’s name. More and more, I think it’s important about defending as much as possible.

And understanding your digital footprint and your brand footprint of your name. And so, frankly, if your name is the, you know, Academy for Youth Excellence, that was one of the names used here. How do you potentially understand how that’s showing up in Google search and then also AI overview of your organization saying if somebody’s looking for Your organization asking questions about it.

Are they going to find this type of fraud history or are they going to find your reputable work? There’s a whole new level of brand reputation that is going to need to take place. And that kind of circles back to the LLM optimization that I think is a different way of playing the game, but it’s going to be very important because if your name is similar to the Academy for Youth Excellence.

Well, you were one of 17 nonprofit defendants that were dissolved by court order in the great state of Minnesota, or were you, or were you associated?

Yeah, George, I think that’s fair. You can always take the easy way out and name, name your organization whole whale and forever be associated with the largest mammal ever to roll in the air, no, I kid. But no, I think it’s a great point, George. Some of these organizations, right, and this is what they do.

This is what the fraudsters do. You know, the American Heart Academy, right? That sounds a lot like other things, but, you know, not real. The Youth Higher Educational Achievement. That sounds legit. Who doesn’t want to give to youth higher education? So, be on the lookout.

All right, George, how about a feel good story? What do you have? This one comes from Habitat of Humanity of the Charlotte region. Habitat Charlotte. Veterans George and Karen were lifelong residents of Charlotte, North Carolina. Carolina. But because of unabordable housing and limited stock, they faced barriers to entry in buying a home.

And thanks to Habitat’s Humanity Veterans Build, which engages military personnel to construct homes for fellow veterans, they’re now building a peaceful, spacious home in Statesville to enjoy with their 22 grandchildren. Congratulations. George, if you don’t know the Habitat for Humanity model, They got it figured out.

It’s a very sustainable model. They have stores that sell goods. The Restore, that goes back into profits for the organization. It goes into, to paying folks who work there, finding employment. They hire people to build homes. It’s, it’s it’s, it’s the best. I think of what nonprofits can be in a very holistic and kind of sustainable approach to social impact.

So take a look at what the folks down at Habitat Charlotte are doing. Also, interestingly enough to note Habitat is kind of like Uh, like a franchise, right? There’s a national habitat, but 99 percent of the builds you see, et cetera, et cetera in the United States are actually run by regional habitat organizations that fall under the national umbrella.

So a lot of them are kind of, financially interindependent. So, see which one is near you and considering getting involved. Great volunteer opportunities too. So many like different and great volunteer opportunities. Go volunteer for a day, volunteer at the store. Just so many fantastic ways to get involved.

And they really, really make an impact. Yeah. And full disclosure, we have done work with some of these habitat networks and we have loved every minute of it. All right, Nick. I have a question for you. How how did the nonprofit get injured by what they wrote? Oh, gosh, I don’t know. They got scraped by Google.

Oh, man, scraped. That’s really good. That’s really good. George. That’s that goes on a t shirt. 📍 Yeah. All right, Nick. Thanks for helping us understand the news. Thanks George. Thanks.