AIs helping charities and community groups?

Artificial intelligence is in the news constantly with varying views from the end of the world as we know it to the best thing since sliced bread.

So let’s start with a confession this week; this column was not written by me, though it has been edited to remove glaring inaccuracies. It was, in fact, written by an AI engine called Claude.

Many smaller charities and voluntary organisations struggle with their communications and for them, if AI continues to improve at its current rate, it will prove a very useful tool.

But be careful; not all of the information is accurate and some sources are dubious at best. However, edited carefully, some of AI’s pieces are a good starting point.

Out of interest, I asked Claude to write me a piece about volunteering and this is what it came up with:

“Here are some tips for getting started with volunteering:

  • Find a cause you care about. Think about issues or populations you want to support, like homelessness, animals, children, veterans, etc. This will help you narrow down organizations to look into.
  • Do your research. Look for local nonprofits or community organisations focused on the cause you’re interested in. Check their websites to learn about their mission, programs, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Consider your skills and interests. This will help match you with volunteer roles that are a good fit. Are you good at physical labour, working with people, office work etc.?
  • Look for flexible or short-term commitments. If your schedule is limited, look for roles that don’t require a long-term or regular commitment. Many organisations need volunteers for specific events.
  • Ask questions before committing. Contact the organisation to learn more about expectations, training, time commitment, and any requirements. Make sure it’s something you can realistically take on.
  • Check volunteer databases. Sites like VolunteerMatch.org and CreateTheGood.org have searchable databases to find local opportunities.
  • Get your friends or family involved. Volunteering together is rewarding and keeps you accountable.
  • Look within your community. Schools, libraries, hospitals, and places of worship often need volunteers and make it easy to get involved.


The most important things are finding a cause you care about and an organisation you want to support. Even contributing a few hours can make a real difference! Let me know if you have any other questions!”

Note the last line, which has clearly been lifted directly from someone else’s carefully crafted piece, because asking Claude any further questions would not yield anything useful.

Asking about volunteer roles returned a remarkably similar piece:

“Here are a few tips for finding volunteer opportunities:

  • Look for local nonprofit organizations that align with causes you care about. Check their websites to see if they have open volunteer positions. Animal shelters, food banks, hospitals, and schools often need volunteers.
  • Use volunteer match websites like VolunteerMatch.org and Idealist.org to search for opportunities by location, interest area, skills needed, etc. You can filter and browse listings for something appealing.
  • Ask around in your community. Talk to your friends, family, coworkers, church members etc. to see if they know of any volunteer needs. Word of mouth can connect you to opportunities.
  • Check sites like Craigslist and local community bulletin boards for requests from organisations seeking volunteers for one-time or ongoing projects.
  • Consider virtual volunteering if you want a flexible schedule. Many nonprofits need volunteers to help with admin tasks, social media, writing, and other projects that can be done remotely.
  • Look for micro-volunteering opportunities to volunteer in small ways when you have limited time. Apps like Voly connect you to quick local projects.
  • Set a regular time to volunteer such as Saturday mornings or one day per month to make it a consistent part of your routine.
  • Track your volunteer hours and skills gained to list on your resume or college applications. Volunteering can provide great experience for future jobs and education.


The key is to find something meaningful to you that fits your schedule and interests. Start local and keep an open mind to find fulfilling volunteer opportunities in your community. Let me know if you need any other tips!

So full credit to Claude. However, ask it to describe our volunteering platform TorbayTogether https://devonconnect.org/torbay and you won’t get very far. At all:

“Unfortunately I don’t have any specific information about Torbay Together since I’m an AI assistant without detailed knowledge of local organizations.”

One up for us humans then!


 
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