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How to Use ChatGPT for Fundraising: 8 Ways to Raise More Money in Less Time

By now, you’ve surely heard the headlines–robots are here for our jobs! In reality, that’s probably an exaggerated claim. New technology is here to help us do our jobs better. It will likely even change what our ‘jobs’ look like. But replace them–it’s not likely.


Here’s why–new and shiny tech tools like ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) powered language generation tool–is just a tool.


Nonprofit organizations can use AI-powered tools to create efficiency and cover more ground in less time, but they can’t simulate the same level of creativity, connection, and application that the humans behind high-impact fundraising campaigns and donor engagement can.


Let’s take a look at what it is, how it works, and how you can use it to be more effective in fundraising for your organization.


What is ChatGPT

The big news in technology is the release of ChatGPT-3, the third release of an open-source AI language generation tool that’s creating waves across digital marketing, content creation, and public relations circles.


At first glance, this fun new tool promises to write emails, blog posts, social media content, and so much more–finally allowing people to do more than just create content to be visible. The premise is simple; you open the tool and type in a prompt. Within a few seconds, the program returns a response.


It’s like a search engine but different. ChatGPT does more than return results; it can generate unique content by analyzing patterns in source materials and replicating those patterns. So, when you type in a prompt for ChatGPT to read a news story on a donor engagement event and write a personalized thank you letter–it can theoretically provide you with a personalized message that you can simply copy and paste into your email client and hit send.


How ChatGPT’s AI Tool Works

ChatGPT and similar AI language generation tools work by analyzing patterns in existing text, learning those patterns, and producing responses that are uniquely generated using those patterns.


Here’s the thing–this is the third release of ChatGPT, and it’s far from great. In one test, this language tool was asked to write a unique FAQ section on what it’s like to live in a specific area. The prompt was asked five times in five different ways, and each time the tool returned almost identical text that was full of descriptive fluff and short on actual facts.


There have also been tests where the tool produced excellent results. It’s all about the application and what descriptors are provided in the prompts. So, ChatGPT is an opportunity to learn how to use a new tool, not a reason to be afraid of a big tech takeover.


Before you get started, it’s important to understand the limitations of ChatGPT-3. This AI tool does not currently have access to the internet. ChatGPT uses a knowledge base that is at least two years old (as of February 2023). It’s likely that this will change with subsequent releases, but for now, this tool is unable to leverage time-sensitive data.


This means that it cannot reference current events or do adequate keyword research. Additionally, simple prompts tend to return simple results. The best results come from a series of prompts, and follow-up prompts designed to refine the results produced by the tool.


It also means that there is a little bit of a learning curve to get really good results. Still, we think that ChatGPT-3 is a promising tool for helping your organization do more.


8 Ideas to Streamline Your Fundraising Efforts with ChatGPT

Now, the big question–what can ChatGPT do for your fundraising program? Here are 8 ideas to help you get more done in less time with this efficiency-boosting AI tool.


1. Personalize Donor Communications

Did you know that 59% of respondents in a recent donor marketing survey indicated that they would give more–up to 50% more–if the correspondence was personalized? Your donors want more personalization, which requires more time.


With tools like ChatGPT, you can do it all–personalize donation requests, event invitations, and thank you letters in a fraction of the time.


To get the full effect of personalization, you will need to spend some time chatting with this tool to feed it information about your organization. Then, you can ask it to use that information. Here are some ideas for prompts:


  • Write a persuasive email to solicit donations from philanthropic families.

  • Give me 10 email subject lines about (topic) personalized for (audience).

  • Tell me a personal story about (pain point related to cause).


2. Write Speeches so You Can Spend More Time in the Public Eye

From networking roundups to ribbon-cutting ceremonies and community events, fundraising is all about keeping your message in the public eye. The problem is–the same old song and dance gets really old. Even if your audience is new, telling that same story for the 100th time will feel worn out to you–and that makes your delivery less effective.


But we’re all strapped for time and creative energy, so coming up with an endless supply of fresh fundraising content is a common challenge. Language generation tools like ChatGPT-3 are changing that–providing nonprofits with the fresh spin that they need to liven up their public presentations and elevator pitches for maximum impact.


The problem is that if you just type in a generic prompt like ‘write a speech to raise funds for (cause), then you will get nothing but fluff that lands a little short on feelings, engagement, and facts. In other words, your AI-generated speeches will bomb.


Here is what you can do instead:


Train ChatGPT-3 to recognize your writing style by using the prompt: ‘analyze the following text for style and tone’ and then paste your existing content, like previous speeches, into the dialogue box. Then, use the prompt ‘write me an elevator pitch for XYZ in this style.’


3. Generate Ideas for New Fundraising Campaigns

ChatGPT-3 doesn’t just write papers, essays, or speeches–it can do much more. In fact, it really excels at creating lists to speed up the brainstorming process by cutting out the front-loaded research.


If you’re looking for new fundraising campaign ideas, there is a good chance that you also want something fresh, fun, and relevant to a new or younger demographic.


Try using follow-up prompts to specify when you are looking for a certain category of themes, types of fundraisers, or specific donor demographics.


  • Make a list of 10 fundraising ideas for a women’s empowerment nonprofit organization.

  • Brainstorm 15 ideas for fundraising themes that appeal to Gen Z.

  • Give me 10 creative ways to host a virtual fundraiser.


4. Spark Fun & Interesting Conversation Ideas for Donor Networking

Have you ever engaged with someone who always has something smart or witty up their sleeve? Get more mileage out of your small talk at donor networking events by equipping yourself with a few fresh ideas for conversation starters that are tailored to your niche and audience.


Try these prompts to get things going with ChatGPT-3:

  • Generate 8 thought-provoking questions to ask millennials about XYZ cause.

  • Give me 5 conversation starters about productivity for networking.

  • Tell me a few fun facts about (topic) and why they are relevant to XYZ cause.


5. Streamline Content Creation so You Can be More Visible in the Digital World

One of the biggest ways businesses, journalists, and even nonprofits are currently using ChatGPT-3 is to bring efficiency to the time-consuming content creation process. Digital marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to get visibility. But much to the disdain of time-crunched nonprofits, it’s also time-consuming.


Getting ranked in search engines takes a consistent effort to create long-form content like blog posts, immersive content like video, and prolific short-form content like social media posts–all at the same time.


However, tools like ChatGPT-3 can save you a lot of time by:

  • Creating Outlines for Blog Posts

  • Generating Social Media Posts

  • Brainstorming Content Ideas

  • Generating Video Scripts

  • Writing Compelling Stories


6. Segment Donor Engagement by Audience Type & Automate Differentiation

The digital marketing world has been optimizing the return on investment of ad dollars with audience segmentation since long before AI entered the scene. Now, it’s time for nonprofit fundraising to catch up with the help of artificial intelligence like ChatGPT-3.


Essentially, this means breaking down your donor audience by demographics and creating unique ad copy, donation letters, or email subject lines for each audience. This level of personalization helps donors connect with the cause in a way that’s authentic and meaningful, leading to larger and more frequent gifts.


The only thing that has kept many smaller nonprofits from unlocking the potential of segmented donor engagement is time. It takes significantly more time to create three separate versions of an email campaign than just one–or at least it used to. ChatGPT can help organizations do more in less time by automating the process of creating segmented content.


7. Repurpose Content for More Mileage in Less Time

ChatGPT is a generative language tool that makes it the perfect engine for repurposing your content to get more mileage out of interviews, blog posts, donor interactions, and client success stories.


Keep in mind that ChatGPT-3 is not connected to the live web. However, you can instruct the AI tool to read the text that you provide and ‘learn’ or analyze it in order to generate similar content. If you have an audio recording of a zoom call where you were interviewed or gave a presentation on an important topic, try using the transcript of that call to teach ChatGPT. Then, use a follow-up prompt to turn that transcript into a series of social media posts or a blog post.


8. Write Sales Copy for Donor Landing Pages & Email Blasts

Another way that ChatGPT is being touted as a powerful tool is to provide persuasive copywriting that inspires donor action. Your organization can create conversion-boosting landing pages and high-impact emails that drive donations without the expense of a copywriter or the time-consuming process of coming up with new ideas.


In fact, fundraising copy was one of the first ways that nonprofits began exploring the usefulness of ChatGPT-3. In one example, a nonprofit experimented with ChatGPT to write a sales landing page modeled after a compelling article that they had previously written.


This approach requires combining a prompt with a copy and paste of an existing piece of content that provides information on style, tone, and context. For example, you might try something like:


Turn the following article into a sales landing page that encourages donations for (cause). (Copy and paste an existing piece of content).


Or, you could piece together a sales landing page by asking ChatGPT to generate each component. Try these prompts:

  • Write a compelling headline to help shelter pets get adopted.

  • Give me a call to action to get more donations for pets in need.

  • Tell me a story about why I should donate to my local animal shelter.

  • Give me a list of the benefits of donating to an animal shelter.

  • Give me a list of objections to donating to animal shelters.

  • Tell me an engaging story about how a donation helped an animal in need.


Final Thoughts on Using ChatGPT-3 for Fundraising

Finding new ways to engage donors and drive donations is a never-ending priority for nonprofit organizations. There are plenty of opportunities for personalization, digital marketing, and effective networking. However, each of these opportunities requires a significant time investment.


Tools like ChatGPT-3, an artificial intelligence tool that uses language generation to streamline efficiency, are changing the game. All the buzz about ChatGPT is fueling a new way to raise funds that signals a new era of nonprofit efficiency.


Now is the time to embrace tools like ChatGPT to level up your fundraising efforts. This tool can help you write donor emails, brainstorm content ideas, conduct quick research, and personalize communications.


What’s Next for Nonprofits & AI

Imagine a two-way, computer-generated dialogue that helps your target audience understand how your organization helps people. The next era in artificial intelligence will take effective self-service tools like chatbots and turn them into an always-on and always-accessible networking tool that can help your organization connect with donors on their terms.


What do you think? Try it here and paste the prompts and responses you received in the comments below!



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