ChatGPT for Nonprofits: How to Leverage Artificial Intelligence

Gia Chow
Gia Chow

Do you wish you had a round-the-clock assistant that could handle repetitive tasks or help draft fundraising appeals, freeing up time to focus on more pressing tasks? Well, there’s a solution.

I’m referring to ChatGPT, a revolutionary language model developed by OpenAI that’s changing the game in every industry. Since its launch in November 2022, millions of users have used the platform to do their homework, summarize content, translate text, and even write code.

The best part? ChatGPT is currently free to use, which means you don’t pay a dime to access the chatbot’s knowledge and expertise.

In this article, we’ll be taking a deep dive into ChatGPT and how nonprofits can utilize AI to augment their nonprofit fundraising efforts. You can also watch our webinar on-demand to see how to best optimize the software.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is an advanced natural language processing tool trained to provide information and assemble content together based on prompts entered by a user. With the ability to continuously learn and adapt to new information, ChatGPT can remember past conversations and constantly iterate based on user prompts. It can also reject inappropriate prompts and admit its mistakes. 

In fact, it’s the second chatbot to ever pass the Turing Test, the current standard for measuring sophisticated artificial intelligence models. What this means is that the content ChatGPT puts out can be considered as indistinguishably human.

ChatGPT Infomation

The Differences Between ChatGPT and A Standard Chatbot

At its core, ChatGPT and standard chatbots simulate conversations with users and provide automated responses. However, there’s much more to ChatGPT that a standard chatbot simply can’t match. 

For starters, ChatGPT is an asset to boost workplace productivity. The AI-enabled tool has an advanced ability to process natural language, which means that it can help nonprofit staff with their work by quickly generating content on the fly. Even if the content isn’t perfect from the get-go, it’s a huge time-saver and value-add, especially for nonprofits with limited resources.

Standard chatbots, on the other hand, are designed for external facing activities like customer support. They’re commonly embedded on website pages, showing up as a popup chat window or on an on-click basis. Since chatbots typically rely on templated responses, they are better suited for simpler cases, such as answering common questions or being a self-service tool for donors (which also make them faster to set up).

Why ChatGPT is Beneficial to Nonprofits

When ChatGPT first came out, our team at CauseVox started asking questions about how we can use it in the nonprofit industry. We realized there are a lot of problems that nonprofit professionals face that stem from being under-resourced, which often causes us to wear a lot of different hats in our work. We’ve found that when used correctly, ChatGPT can help to lessen this workload. In fact, ChatGPT:

  • Provides knowledge by summarizing ideas and answering questions with general accuracy.  
  • Boosts productivity by writing outlines for grants, thank you messages, and more. In turn, this can reduce staff workload, saving countless hours on tedious tasks, and allow nonprofit staff to focus on more important things.
  • Improves the creative process by sparking new ideas. It’s helpful for first drafts on content such as social media posts and thank you letters. It can also run variations on what it puts out by refining the prompt or by providing additional details- an approach known as iterative prompting (which we will illustrate later).

Examples of How to Use ChatGPT in the Nonprofit Context

Whether you’re looking to engage with donors, raise funds, or recruit volunteers, ChatGPT can be used in a variety of nonprofit contexts including:

  • Writing Donation Page Copy
  • Writing Targeted Email Outreach Campaigns
  • Generating Social Media Content
  • Writing Grant Proposals

Donation Page

For nonprofits using ChatGPT, here’s an example for donation page copy: 

ChatGPT Donation Page Copy Example
(Example of a ChatGPT-generated response to a request asking for copy that can be used for a nonprofit’s online donation page)

Admittedly, due to the way the prompt was phrased, the template is incredibly general. For more specificity, simply provide ChatGPT with more relevant details. Below, I’ve added the type of nonprofit, which is reflected in the AI-generated response:

ChatGPT Food Bank Donation Page Copy Example

Note: To get the output you want, be sure to give ChatGPT feedback. You can do so by clicking the thumbs up or thumbs down icons next to the generated output or by letting the model know in subsequent prompts.

Now, let’s say you have a donation page and you want to optimize your donation tiers. You can ask ChatGPT to help you figure out which donation amounts to use on your donation page. In the example below, I’ve asked ChatGPT to come up with five donation tiers, given an average donation amount of $75.

ChatGPT Donation Tiers Example

Remembering the food bank context from my previous prompts, ChatGPT’s response follows donation best practices by providing donation tiers  below and above the average gift, along with an explanation of what those amounts will accomplish.

Targeted Email Outreach Campaign

Are you a little amazed? Because I am! And we’re only scratching the surface of what ChatGPT can do. Here’s an example for a targeted email campaign.

ChatGPT Monthly Giving Program Example

As many of us know, one of the hardest parts of writing emails is coming up with a compelling subject line. Luckily, ChatGPT can help kick off the creative process so you’re not starting from scratch.

ChatGPT Email Subject Lines Example

Taking it a step further, you can ask ChatGPT to use one of the subject lines generated to build out a fundraising email outline.

ChatGPT Fundraising Email Outline Example

It’s not a work of art but it’s still pretty impressive, and a great jumping off point for your email copy.

Social Media Content

A constant struggle for many nonprofits is coming up with what to say in social media posts. ChatGPT can help with that too! Using the literacy nonprofit as an example, here’s what ChatGPT came up with:

ChatGPT Social Media Post Example

As you give ChatGPT more details, the model can tailor the responses based on the information provided. For instance, let’s say your nonprofit has a specific brand persona. You can ask ChatGPT to rewrite these posts based on your desired tone. 

ChatGPT Casual Tone Example
ChatGPT Humorous Tone Example

I used casual and humorous tones but those are only two examples. Other tones you can inject into a prompt include:

  • Formal
  • Conversational
  • Persuasive
  • Sarcastic
  • Inspirational
  • And more!

As an added bonus, ChatGPT can even create a social media calendar for you, telling you exactly what to post and when.

ChatGPT Social Media Calendar Example

Of course, you can tailor the content to your specific campaign and target audience by providing more details in your prompt but this gives you a good starting point for planning your social media calendar.

Grant Proposal

And that’s not all. ChatGPT can also help with the time-consuming grant writing process.

ChatGPT Grant Proposal Example

ChatGPT for Nonprofits Prompting Best Practices for Optimal Results

The examples above illustrate how the phrasing of a prompt will affect what ChatGPT produces. Here are some best practices for optimized prompting to ensure that ChatGPT produces responses that are accurate, relevant, and aligned with your needs:

  • Be clear and specific: Be as clear and specific as possible about what you want it to generate. Provide context, background information, and any relevant details.
  • Use natural language: Use conversational language that is similar to how you would speak or write.
  • Avoid vague prompts: Avoid prompts that are vague or open-ended, as these can lead to unpredictable or irrelevant responses. Be specific!
  • Provide examples: If you have examples of the type of content you want ChatGPT to generate, provide them as part of your prompt.
  • Review and refine: ChatGPT isn’t going to get it 100% right. Be sure to review (and fact-check) what’s put out and polish as needed. 
  • Train and fine-tune: Over time, you can train ChatGPT to generate more accurate responses by providing feedback, and fine-tuning its performance by adjusting your prompts.

How Not to Use ChatGPT

While AI-generated content is incredibly powerful and efficient, no tool is perfect. It’s important to remember that there are limitations.

Potential Pitfalls of Relying Too Heavily on AI-Generated Content

What ChatGPT puts out is only as good as the data that was put in and there’s a significant amount that goes into optimizing its performance. ChatGPT can’t distinguish between reliable sources so if the training data is biased or inaccurate, the AI-generated content may perpetuate these biases and inaccuracies, resulting in content that is inappropriate, offensive, or simply wrong. 

Not to mention, if you need information on something that happened in the last couple of years, you’re out of luck. ChatGPT was last trained on data from prior to 2021. To that end, it’s wise to use it judiciously and to always review generated content.

Importance of Maintaining a Human Touch and Voice

What’s more is that ChatGPT isn’t a replacement for a real person. While it can be exciting (and scary) that a computer program can process countless questions and output content on the fly, it lacks the empathy an actual human brings to the table. Let’s face it, AI-generated content isn’t perfect. Sometimes, it can come off as robotic. Having a human voice ensures content that doesn’t sound cold, clinical, or insensitive. In many cases, the best approach involves a combination of AI and human-generated content.

Integrating ChatGPT into Nonprofit Operations and Communication Strategies

There’s so many ways you can integrate ChatGPT into your nonprofit operations and communication strategies.

Donor Engagement

For starters, ChatGPT can create personalized content for donor engagement. You can use it to answer donor questions, create thank you letters, generate catchy social media posts, or draft email newsletters.

ChatGPT Thank You Letter Example


Next, ChatGPT can generate compelling and effective fundraising content such as donation page copy, email campaigns, and social media posts that resonate with donors. It’s a great companion for developing peer-to-peer campaigns and fundraising toolkits.

ChatGPT Fundraising Campaign Example

Generating an initial outline can help save hours and keep the content from being too generic. Since we normally don’t have enough time to create different versions of the content, ChatGPT can help do that for you while saving time.

Idea Generation

In addition, you can use ChatGPT to explore different perspectives and solutions, as well as provide inspiration and insight for various initiatives.

ChatGPT Fundraising Ideas Example

Content Repurposing

Another way to use ChatGPT is to generate new content based on existing materials, such as summarizing or paraphrasing long articles. Check out how ChatGPT condensed down “Jane’s” story from this:

ChatGPT Success Story Example

To this:

ChatGPT Email Blurb Example

Not bad right?

Data Analysis

ChatGPT can also analyze donor data and generate insights to improve nonprofit operations and fundraising effectiveness. For example, the program can analyze donor behavior, identify trends, and generate recommendations for improving fundraising campaigns.

ChatGPT Data Analysis Example

More Advanced Features of ChatGPT for Nonprofits

But wait, there’s more. With ChatGPT’s API, you can create more sophisticated applications such as chatbots and automate certain tasks. Of course, this is a more advanced feature that requires programming knowledge. Nonprofits who don’t have in-house developers may need to hire externally to take advantage of these features.  

ChatGPT for Nonprofits

ChatGPT has the potential to have a significant impact on the future of nonprofits. We like to think of ChatGPT more like a calculator than a magic wand. It’s not an end-all be-all solution but similar to a calculator, it relies on the information you input and is a great tool for making your work easier and faster.

By leveraging the power of AI through ChatGPT, nonprofits can improve donor engagement, increase fundraising effectiveness, streamline operations, and gain valuable insights from data analysis- ultimately enabling them to achieve their mission more effectively.

Want to see live use cases of ChatGPT and learn how to best navigate the software? We’ve got the webinar for you.

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