Have you been struggling with whether – and how – to incorporate generative artificial intelligence (AI; ChatGPT) into your work? Or perhaps you’ve been worrying your job will soon be obsolete?
You’re not alone.
Honestly, the whole AI thing scares the you-know-what out of me on most days. But, let’s consider the encouraging present rather than worry so much about the possibility of a bleak future (as in destruction of humanity?!).
You can’t control everything.
You can control some things. So, I thought I’d take a quick minute to send you some tips I’ve curated from others to help stimulate your thinking and planning for ways ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) and other AI-driven chatbots have potential to free up your time and revolutionize how you communicate with donors.
You can ignore all of this if you choose. But, it won’t make it go away. Nor will it stop your peers from figuring out how to get a leg up through use of these new tools. Remember, at first some of us were slow to adopt use of computers, the internet and social media (who, me?).
So let’s lead from curiosity, not fear.
I begin with a recent article from the Veritus Group blog designed specifically to help nonprofits. Read the whole thing, but here are the take-aways (with my examples added).
6 Things AI Can and Cannot Help Your Nonprofit Do
1. My Favorite: ASK: What would really help me?
Before rushing blindly into AI adoption, or even asking GPT a question, write down the parts of your job that take time away from your fundamental task of building authentic relationships with donors. Now, see if you can harness a chatbot to help you with these tasks.
“Check the following text for spelling and grammar errors.”
“How can I streamline data entry so I’ve more time to build relationships?”
“List up to three ways to automate personalized emails to major donors in my portfolio, using data about their interests pulled from my Bloomerang database”
2. The Way You Should Always Think: ASK: What do we offer donors to make them feel more connected?
Consider a range of projects to explore with AI’s help. Try to get specific to elicit more focused help.
“Give me 10 ideas to connect donors with our community.”
“Based on the text below, how could the tone of our thank you letters be improved to make donors feel connected?”
“What subject matter should we cover in our virtual connection opportunities?”
3.Good, but Don’t Use as Delaying Excuse: ASK: What do I need to learn a little bit more about?
Use a search engine to explore learning opportunities, e.g., FAQs, tutorials, and tips for making the process of using chatbots less intimidating. Like any other tool, you’ll really only learn by practicing. So, avoid procrastination. Research a bit; then, dig in!
For listeners/doers: How to Use Chat GPT For Beginners 2023 [27.50 minutes on YouTube];
For fundraisers: 12 Ways to Use ChatGPT and Other AI Tools for Fundraising.
4. Basics before Riffing: Try something; then, try, try again.
If you’ve never played music, you’re not suddenly going to become a jazz virtuoso. You’ll never become someone who can easily jam unless you get started on the fundamentals. Begin with a simple question to which you’d like an answer. Ask it. Then refine it to get closer to an answer that helps you.
“How many donors can a .50 F.T.E. major gifts officer handle?”
“How can we acquire more donor advised fund gifts?”
“Write a 200-word $1,000 donor thank you email in the style of Michelle Obama”
5. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Critical Role: The buck stops with you, not the bot.
Consider AI a collaborator, not the final word. As helpful as it may be, it’s not human and doesn’t know your mission, vision and values as well as you do. Nor does it know your donors. Be sure to look at everything produced by AI with a critical eye so you’re comfortable taking full ownership of the final product.
Ask it to produce a letter, then compare it with a letter you typically use. Which do you prefer?
Ask it to tailor a message for different donor segments. Review the different options, and maybe mix and match.
Ask it to write a mini-case statement for a project you plan to pitch. Review and edit to tailor to your prospect’s particular interests.
6. You’re in Control of How You Build Relationships. AI can’t take a donor out for coffee.
There’s a lot AI can help with, but humans possess qualities chatbots currently cannot replicate. While chatbots can be quite advanced and helpful in answering questions or providing information, they lack the depth of understanding and connection humans can establish with one another.
You have ability to understand complex emotions.
You have ability to apply empathy.
You have ability to make decisions based on unique experiences and understanding of the nuances of human interactions.
As you think about how AI may help you work more effectively, you may also find these resources helpful:
Should Your Nonprofit Jump on the Artificial Intelligence Bandwagon? Claire Axelrad, Clairification.
Bye-bye ChatGPT: AI Tools As Good As ChatGPT (But Few People Are Using Them). Frank Andrade, Artificial Corner.
AI Revolution: Jasper’s VP of Marketing Shares Expert Advice (Don’t Get Left Behind) [Listen/watch quick video]. Meghan Anderson, V.P. of Marketing, Jasper.
ChatGPT Did NOT Write This Headline (But It Probably Could Have). Drew Coursin, Veritus Group.
Every B2B CMO Needs a Point of View on AI Right Now. Kelly Santina, Convince & Convert
Love or Hate AI as Writing Tool? Kevin Shulman, Donor Voice.
Should You Turn Supporter Care Over to AI? Kevin Shulman, Donor Voice.
Artificial Intelligence Can Help Nonprofits Reach More Donors, but Fundraisers Can’t Ignore Potential Pitfalls, Daniel Hadley, the Chronicle of Philanthropy
If you found this article helpful, or have some thoughts or experiences you’d like to share, please do so in the “Comments” below. Thank you!
Image: Three San Francisco Hearts: Blooming Heartree; Love of-Dahlieas; Seeds of Peace. Benefit for S.F. General Hospital Foundation