Can AI & Bots Help Create A More Positive Nonprofit Workplace Culture? | Beth's Blog

Can AI & Bots Help Create A More Positive Nonprofit Workplace Culture?

Personal Productivity, Resilience, Social Media Policy


Much of my training and facilitation work lately has been centered around the ideas in my recent book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit. The nonprofit organizations I’m working with are are seeking out ways to create collective resilience in their workplaces. Much of this has to do with how people appreciate each other as well as building a sense of community, followed by activities and supporting policies in the workplace.

I’ve been facilitating nonprofit workshops and staff retreats focused on creating a culture of wellbeing in the workplace.  Most recently, I facilitated this workshop with staff at Lightful, a social media platform for nonprofits based in London where I am currently a senior advisor.

The conversation surfaced some interesting questions and ideas. One area that was identified was how to build cross-department relationships. This is not a unique problem, many nonprofits face the issue of “silos,” often because different departments or teams don’t have the opportunity to get to know others in their organizations in an informal way.

One idea for a solution that emerged and was perfectly aligned with their Slack-heavy use, was to implement a bot that would randomly match two people each week to have coffee.  In fact, such a bot exists, it is called Donut. It is one of many HR & Culture Slack Apps.

At another workshop I did for a different organization, the staff came up with the idea of using technology to help support and sustain a culture of resilience and build relationships with remote staff.  Their idea was to have virtual pizza parties using Zoom and simultaneous pizza delivery at the different sites. (And, of course, there is a pizza ordering slack bot.)

Another common technique that many nonprofits use to way to build relationships is to acknowledge and celebrate staff’s birthdays.  BirthdayBot is a Slack app that automatically posts birthday messages and reminders in the slack chats.  BirthdayBot collects everyone’s birthdays which reduces time investment and errors.

And, if you to want get everyone moving there is another slack app called Health Hero which is a fun way to compete with colleagues by tracking  steps from your favorite health/fitness apps. It offers customizable reminders to check in and track progress in a fun way.

These are just a few of many examples of using technology to facilitate staff relationships and encourage workplace wellbeing.  But there are also bots that can help combat workplace harassment.

A San Francisco startup, called Valued has a mission is to provide companies with the AI-driven tools they need to stop inappropriate behavior, bias, bullying, and discrimination in the workplace.  The platform is described as a “Slack-first” HR platform designed to help managers proactively combat abuse by fostering collaboration, teamwork, and inclusion. Companies add the Valued chatbot to their Slack chatrooms, and employees and management can ping the bot with commands to solicit — and provide — feedback. In the future, the bot will be able to sift through slack channels and identify in appropriate language. 

Is your organization using AI driven software or other technology to shift or support organizational culture?  Share your story in the comments.


2 Responses

  1. There are key places for AI to be applied to improve aspects of work, but human connection is still the most important. At Empower Work, we leverage technology to facilitate that human connectivity. Anyone in the U.S. can connect with a trained peer counselor via SMS or web chat to talk through a work situation they’re facing and discuss a pathway forward. We see significant opportunities to leverage machine learning and AI to improve efficiency and impact, with human oversight and input. AI chatbots can be beneficial for reporting, but feeling heard and valued still needs humans 🙂

  2. Beth Kanter says:


    Agree with you 100% on the importance of maintaining human connection and about feeling heard and valued still needs humans. And, as we start to automate more work flow via bots, human relationships and connection will become even more important – don’t you think?

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