People are talking about artificial intelligence—AI is everywhere. On social media and the news. At the dog park. On Zoom. At the office. Even at happy hour.
The capabilities of AI are enough to make you think that Blade Runner might be prophetic, or that you too might have C3PO as an assistant someday. Those thoughts are also a source of existential dread, even for people working at a tech company like Eventgroove!
Now that ChatGPT and its ilk are out of the box, there’s no cramming them back in. As with all new major technological changes (we’re looking at you, electricity and the internet), we must adapt and adopt. There are many ways your nonprofit can test the AI waters, however, in this post, we’re focusing on how you can use AI to improve your organization’s written content. AI as a writing tool can make you even more efficient and give you time to do other things like plan great fundraising campaigns.
Like many nonprofits, Eventgroove is a small company. Our marketing team could fit in a MINI Cooper. One person (me) handles the bulk of our copy and content projects. As a writer, I was reluctant to use ChatGPT. Until I tried it. And then everything changed. That shift in mindset is one we at Eventgroove urge any nonprofit to lean into. To help you dive right in, this post provides an overview of the tools available, best practices, and examples to make your chosen AI writing tool work for you.
AI Chatbots—the Basic Tools
You’ve heard of ChatGPT, but what about Google’s Bard or Microsoft’s new Bing (to name a few)? Aren’t they all the same thing? Yes and no. While we might call our phones ‘phones,’ there are Apple, Android, and Google devices. Each performs the same basic tasks and has its own pros and cons.
Since this is an article on using AI to write, we asked Google’s Bard, “What is the difference between ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Bing Chat?” Its response neatly explained the nitty-gritty:
“ChatGPT is a large language model (LLM) developed by OpenAI. It is trained on a massive dataset of text and code, and it can generate text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer your questions in an informative way.
Google’s Bard is a generative language model from Google AI, trained on a massive dataset of text and code. It can generate text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer your questions in an informative way. It is still under development, but it has the potential to be a powerful tool for users.
Bing Chat is a chatbot powered by ChatGPT-4. It is a new feature that was added to the Microsoft Edge browser in March 2023. Bing Chat can be used to answer questions, generate creative content, and even translate languages.”
In other words, though different, all three chatbots perform similar tasks. They answer questions, make requested lists, and, if you ask, will write a letter, blog post, or social media captions. For free. They’re also very simple to use.
To understand just how user friendly they are, the best thing to do is to see for yourself! For your first prompt, ask something unrelated to work such as, “What are some things I can do with three hours in <city>?” This exercise will show you how useful this tool is for quickly generating information you can build upon.
Enterprise AI Platforms—Next-Level Tools
In addition to AI chatbots, there are enterprise AI platforms. Hewlett Packard Enterprise defines an enterprise AI platform as:
“…the combination of artificial intelligence—the ability for a machine to learn, understand, and interact in a very human way—with software designed to meet organizational needs.”
Much like a fundraising platform, an enterprise AI platform enables your organization to access an array of resources and templates.
Enterprise AI writing tools such as Writer, Go Charlie, and Ink help you write more clearly and correctly. Additionally, these platforms offer tons of templates designed to help you tackle all sorts of writing tasks. Using them, you can build email campaigns, create social media posts, repurpose content, summarize text, and even generate images. Finally, your team can collaborate, and you can often set style guidelines so that the content is consistent.
AI enterprise platforms are (obviously) not free, and using one is not as straightforward as posing a question to an AI chatbot. Though a gentle one, there is learning curve.
Pros & Cons of AI-generated Content
- Saves time
- Great as a writing prompt for any type of content
- Lack of nuanced language
- Not human, so no unique thought or perspective
- Factual errors
For Eventgroove, AI content tools are productivity tools and ideal for creating blog post outlines and drafting marketing emails and descriptions for our print-on-demand products.
We’re not suggesting that there’s no editing, revising, or reframing involved. Though it’s startlingly articulate, AI doesn’t think, and it doesn’t know your nonprofit’s goals or supporters as well as you do. If you want your text to be effective, you must edit and add your own ‘voice’ and perspective.
Moreover, you should double-check anything stated as fact and review everything for plagiarism (Grammarly has a free tool for this). Recall that chatbots source their information from the internet, and they do not differentiate between reliable sources, sales copy, or opinion. Yet.
How to Use ChatGPT to Create Copy & Content
The prompt you give ChatGPT (or any AI chatbot) is key. Be detailed and specific. Think of it this way: You don’t just go to a coffee shop and say, “I’d like a coffee.” And then hope for the best. You order that latte with a shot of espresso, extra foam, two sugars, and a pump of caramel like a civilized human being.
Note that no matter how thorough your prompt is, ChatGPT’s output won’t be perfect. The power in using AI to help you write for your nonprofit are the steps saved and the potential it has as a writing prompt. As you’ll see, ChatGPT’s responses to our queries are not necessarily something you’d use verbatim. They put you directly in the editor’s seat. You’ll also notice we say ‘please’ in our prompts—you don’t have to do this! We just like to be polite!
1) Social Media Posts
If you’ve written a blog post and need to promote it on your social platforms, ChatGPT can give you an assist. Just be sure to research any hashtag suggestions—chatbots can be wrong!
“Please write 3 energetic tweets for this article by the Eventgroove brand for an audience of nonprofit professionals and individuals hosting fundraisers. Include relevant hashtags: https://www.eventgroove.com/fundraising-blog/5-community-engagement-strategies-for-nonprofits”
Also, use this ChatGPT prompt when you want to engage your supporters.
“Please write 5 interesting and engaging questions to pose on Facebook to my wildlife refuge nonprofit’s supporters. Include statistics and fun facts where possible, and include a question at the end that would inspire conversation.”
2) A Gratitude Email
If you need a letter to thank fundraising event participants, try a version of this prompt. While ChatGPT’s repsonse isn’t as personal as we’d like it to be, it sure gets the ball rolling!
“Write a heartfelt, authentic letter to participants in my walk-a-thon benefitting breast cancer research. It should begin, Dear x. Do not start with “I wanted to take a moment”. Instead, start with something that makes the reader feel important. Please include a fill in the blank where the letter mentions the amount they raised through pledges for the fundraiser. Please mention that the funds raised are going to help local recipients with covering missed wages while in treatment. “
3) An Email Announcement for an Upcoming Fundraiser
Make sure to plug in all the details for this one. Otherwise, ChatGPT will fill in its own copy!
“Please write an energetic and cheerful letter to last year’s participants about Food for the Community’s Fall fundraiser. The opening should read ‘Dear X’. Prizes that might just top last year’s hot-air balloon ride in wine country and the extremely popular paint-your-pet portrait class! This year, participants can win a trip to swim with dolphins, a birding walk with a local ornithologist Dr. Cardinal, gourmet food baskets from local bakery House of Pie, and more! Raffle tickets can be purchased at our office (insert a blank here for the address), or they can be bought online (blank for website). Raffle tickets will be available for the month of October. The drawings will take place via Instagram Live on 11/1. “
4) Social Media Content Calendar
Keeping up with social media is much easier when you’ve got an editorial calendar to follow. In our example, we’ve focused on Instagram, but you can use ChatGPT to create a calendar for all your social networks. The following prompt will help you get started!
“Please create a content calendar for Instagram for Purrfect Pets cat rescue. The nonprofit focuses on rehoming strays and spay and neuter programs. Please create a two-week calendar for October 14–31. Please note that National Cat Day is Sunday, October 29—some posts should center around that. Please include posts with energetic calls to action to donate to help support our programs or care for our rescues. When asking people to share pictures, ask that they tag @PurrfectPets to be featured in our stories and site! Please include 2–4 strong, relevant hashtags. For the table, please include the day of the week and times to post.”
5) Write Copy for a Fundraising Page
Your fundraising page should inspire visitors to take action (donate or buy raffle tickets) while also informing them about your organization. ChatGPT can give you a push in the right direction! Use the following prompt to guide your own.
“Please write engaging copy promoting my raffle fundraiser benefitting Community Cares, a nonprofit supporting underserved kids in the community with after school enrichment programs such as mentoring, tutoring, sports and dance classes. We also provide meals to those that need them. Funds raised will go directly to helping these kids and families get the support they need to thrive. The fundraiser is a raffle. The first prize is Taylor Swift tickets. The second prize is a $200 gift card to the best place for pho in town, Pho-Nomenal. Third prize are gourmet baskets donated by local eatery, Yum Yum. Tickets can be purchased by clicking the buy tickets button. Note—the copy should be focused on inspiring readers to support the cause and buy tickets. Include a strong call to action. The drawing will be live streamed and take place on 5/31 at the community center.”
As the above examples illustrate, a detailed prompt helps ChatGPT to conjure finely tuned responses. If such detail at the outset is overwhelming, try less specific prompts. Then, based on ChatGPT’s output, adjust your request.
Like many nonprofit organizers, you’ve got a million things to do. ChatGPT’s ability to create editorial calendars and generate blog post and social media post ideas is undeniably a time-saver. We’d argue that adding efficiency to the process of writing a gratitude letter doesn’t take away from the authenticity. It gives you a place to start, and that’s always better than putting it off, staring at a blank page, or feeling guilty that you still haven’t drafted up that letter!