How I Use ChatGPT to Create Copy for Nonprofit Communications in Less Time
I’m ready for flying cars now, aren’t you? Artificial intelligence is here and available to the masses. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or you’ve been buried under endless copywriting requests from your NGO), you’ve probably heard about the free open-source platform ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence language model developed by OpenAI that can understand natural language input and generate human-like responses. You can communicate with the software by using the chat to make a request.
If you read, "I Asked ChatGPT to Write a Fundraising Letter. Here's What Happened," you’ll know that this technology isn’t perfect. However, it’s a power tool that we can use as fundraisers to optimize what we do and make our lives easier.
Annual Appeal Copy
Raise your hand if you’ve ever stared at a blank page for far too long when it’s time to write your annual appeal.
ChatGPT can help with that! It can help you write up an initial draft to get you over the initial “blank page syndrome” and stop you from rewriting last year’s letter. The trick is to be precise and direct. I decided to use a local humane society as my example:
Write a donor centric fundraising letter about JayJay for [a humane society]. Highlight that donations will go toward safe shelter and behavioral training for pets like JayJay. [Inserted links to a photo caption about the dog on Facebook and the dog’s adoption page.]
In less than 15 seconds, I had a draft:
Thank you for your unwavering support for our furry friends at [the humane society]. As we continue to work tirelessly to provide a safe haven for animals in need, we are reminded of the incredible kindness and generosity of our community.
Today, we want to share the story of JayJay, a lovable pooch who came to us in dire need of our help. Despite his friendly nature, JayJay struggled with anxiety and fear of new situations. But with the help of our dedicated trainers and volunteers, we were able to provide him with the behavioral training and support he needed to overcome his challenges.
Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, we were able to give JayJay the chance he needed to thrive. And today, we are happy to report that he has found his forever home with a loving family who adores him.
But JayJay's story is just one of many. Every day, we receive animals in need of our care and attention, and we rely on the kindness of donors like you to help us provide for them. Your donation will go toward ensuring that pets like JayJay have access to safe shelter, nutritious meals, and the behavioral training they need to overcome their challenges and find their forever homes.
We hope you will consider making a donation today to help us continue our lifesaving work. Your support truly makes all the difference for animals in need.
Thank you for your kindness and generosity.
P.S. To learn more about JayJay's journey and the work we do at [the humane society], please visit our website or Facebook page. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of animals in need.
Now, instead of thinking through how I’m going to address JayJay’s history or incorporate gratitude into the letter, ChatGPT put together a cohesive letter that I can edit and add elements of the human touch. Instead of spending two afternoons on a letter, I was able to write and edit something in less than an hour. That’s potentially four hours of time savings.
You can also utilize this tool in the editing process for already constructed copy. Imagine that you’ve been writing all day and one paragraph feels off to you. You keep on rewriting a sentence here and there but it doesn’t feel right. Copy that paragraph and ask ChatGPT to rewrite it for you. Ask it to change the tone, or add or remove certain elements. From there, you might have the copy you are looking for without having to overthink your own writing.
Emergency Fundraising Copy
This tool goes way beyond writing your direct mail solicitations. Imagine you are the director of development for a humane society and you just learned that one of your humane law enforcement officers is bringing 50 malnourished cats to the shelter. You have one hour to write up a press release, an email solicitation, copy for the web donation form and the automatic tax acknowledgment email for donations. This is when you ask your new favorite tool for help.
Press Release Copy
Write up a short press release about 50 malnourished cats being seized from a local Anytown, NY, home. Of the 50 cats, five kittens are in critical condition and will need around-the-clock bottle feeding for the next few weeks. Many of the cats have fleas and are infected with ringworm. [The humane society] will need monetary donations in addition to extra blankets, towels and wet cat food. [The humane society] will need at least $10,000 to care for these cats until they will be available for adoption.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Anytown, NY - [Date]
[The humane society] has seized 50 malnourished cats from a local home in Anytown, NY. Upon further examination, it was discovered that many of the cats are infected with ringworm and have fleas. In addition, five kittens are in critical condition and will require around-the-clock bottle feeding for the next few weeks.
The cats are currently receiving medical attention and will need ongoing care until they are ready for adoption. [The humane society] is in need of monetary donations to cover the cost of medical treatment and food, as well as extra blankets, towels and wet cat food.
According to [the humane society], they will need a minimum of $10,000 to care for the cats until they are available for adoption. They are urging the community to donate whatever they can to support this important cause.
If you would like to make a donation, please contact [The humane society] at [contact information].
About [the humane society]
[The humane society] is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals in our community. They provide a range of services, including animal adoption, spay and neuter services and education programs. For more information, visit [website or social media handles].
ChatGPT isn’t a mind reader. You will need to help guide technology to get what you want. When you are making a request, you need to be specific and intentional with the information you share. My initial prompt for this campaign was a paragraph of information. Your prompt might be longer and that’s OK. The more information you give ChatGPT, the more precise your copy will be.
If you have a few facts, include them in the request. If you have a specific way of mentioning one of your nonprofit’s programs, make sure that you mention that in some way. This might be as simple as having a few canned statements you always include when asking for help from ChatGPT.
Once you have that initial copy that is good enough from ChatGPT, you can start asking for additional requests that reword that initial copy into whatever medium you need it.
Email Solicitation Copy
Reword this press release into a short donor-centric email solicitation that will go out to donors asking for immediate help with raising 10,000 for these 50 cats and kittens.
Subject: Help Save the Lives of 50 Malnourished Cats and Kittens
I am writing to you today with an urgent request for help. [The humane society] has recently seized 50 malnourished cats and kittens from a home in Anytown, NY. Many of them have fleas and are infected with ringworm, and five of the kittens are in critical condition, requiring around-the-clock bottle feeding for the next few weeks.
We are doing everything we can to help these animals, but we need your help. We are in need of monetary donations to cover the cost of medical treatment, blankets, towels and wet cat food for the cats. We estimate that we need a minimum of $10,000 to provide the care these animals need until they are ready for adoption.
As a valued donor and supporter of our community's animals, I'm asking for your help. Can you make a donation today to help these 50 cats and kittens receive the care they desperately need?
Your support will make a significant difference in the lives of these animals. Every dollar you give will help provide food, medical care and a safe and comfortable environment for these cats and kittens. Your donation will help ensure they receive the necessary care to recover and find their forever homes.
Please donate now by [insert instructions on how to donate].
Thank you for considering this urgent request for help. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these animals in need.
Automatic Tax Acknowledgment Email Copy
Reword this letter into a 250-word tax letter acknowledgment from [the humane society] president. Include that their donation will help the 50 cats and kittens, and, as a donor, they will receive updates about the animals rescued on our blog.
On behalf of [the humane society], I would like to express our sincere appreciation for your recent donation of [donation amount] to support the care and treatment of 50 malnourished cats and kittens rescued from a local home in Anytown, NY.
Your generous donation will help provide these cats and kittens with the necessary medical care, food and supplies they need to recover and find their forever homes. We are incredibly grateful for your support and dedication to the welfare of animals in our community.
We want to assure you that your donation will make a significant impact on the lives of these animals. We will use the funds to provide around-the-clock bottle feeding for the five kittens in critical condition, as well as additional medical care for all of the cats infected with ringworm and fleas. Your donation will also help us provide extra blankets, towels and wet cat food to ensure these animals receive the best possible care during their stay with us.
As a valued donor, we want to keep you updated on the progress of these cats and kittens. We invite you to check our blog regularly, where we will be posting updates on their recovery and journey to finding their forever homes.
Once again, thank you for your support of [the humane society] and our mission to help animals in need. Your contribution makes a difference, and we are grateful for your generosity.
[Humane society president]
Web Donation Form Copy
Reword the press release into a short single paragraph for the fundraising landing page.
We urgently need your help to save the lives of 50 malnourished cats and kittens recently seized from a home in Anytown, NY. These cats have fleas and are infected with ringworm, and 5 kittens are in critical condition and require around-the-clock bottle feeding for the next few weeks. [The humane society] needs your monetary donations to cover the cost of medical treatment and food, as well as extra blankets, towels and wet cat food. We estimate that we need a minimum of $10,000 to provide the necessary care for these animals until they are ready for adoption. Your donation will make a significant difference in the lives of these animals and help them find their forever homes. Please donate today and help us provide the care and love these cats and kittens need.
Wow! AI did the heavy lifting on this campaign. Is this perfect? Absolutely not. However, you are now able to edit these elements. Just as mechanics are needed to keep factory machines running, fundraisers and copywriters are needed to craft messages that resonate with donors. By learning how to use ChatGPT effectively, you can improve its established work and achieve even better results.
You are now at a point where you can weave in some parts of your mission and include a quote from the humane law enforcement Investigator before sending out the press release. Instead of spending all of your time perfecting the copy, you now have 10 minutes to call one of your most loyal and generous supporters and let them know the news. You never know, they might commit to giving $5,000 to help those cats who need their help.
In a world where we are being pulled in many different directions, we need to work smarter, not harder. By utilizing this tool, you can use your time to think more strategically about campaigns, personally reach out to donors, or work on projects that you didn’t have time to work on before. Whenever you are stuck, think about ChatGPT as your very literal, robot coworker to bounce ideas off of.
Rather than write off or fear ChatGPT, embrace that this is a skill set you can learn and hone as a professional. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Proficient in ChatGPT” becomes as prominent as “Proficient in MS Office” on resumes. Every single time new technology is developed, humankind finds new ways to foster even more exciting innovation. I urge you to log in and try it. You never know — you might find that your robot colleague helps find you more time to think creatively.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
Sami Sheehan, CFRE, brings more than a decade of valuable annual giving experience from her time at social justice, animal welfare and healthcare nonprofits. Her passion for fundraising stems from her desire to help donors realize their vision of a better world through philanthropic contributions. Beyond crafting successful direct mail campaigns, Sami enjoys spending time exploring the great outdoors, whether it be hiking with her family or solo trail running.