Tools for Nonprofits

Use ChatGPT to write a donor thank you email (or any email) for your nonprofit.

March 31, 2023

We don’t know about you, but writing emails can pretty quickly eat-up our entire morning, part of our afternoon and, some days, well they just don’t stop. Reading them is one thing, writing emails is another thing entirely. Often the most time consuming part is figuring out how to say what it is you want to say. ChatGPT can help you write your nonprofit’s emails—and it’s pretty good at it.

When it comes to writing your nonprofit’s newsletter, fundraising campaign emails, event updates, thank you emails or any email really, ChatGPT is a good place to start.

This article will walk you through a few tips and tricks for getting the best possible email out of ChatGPT—aka an email you won’t have to completely re-write but will still need to read over. If you’re interested in learning more about how ChatGPT works, we’ve written about it in: Everyone’s talking about ChatGPT—nonprofits included.

Start by asking ChatGPT for the email you want.

You’ve got an upcoming fundraising event and need to send out an email letting your donors know. You can use last years email and update the date and time, or give ChatGPT a try. Just asking ChatGPT for an email announcing your event—without giving it any other information—produces a solid first draft.

You’ll notice that even though ChatGPT didn’t have all the information it needed, it was still able to produce an email and even identified a few pieces of missing information. (Date and time, address of the event, and the RSVP date.)

Give ChatGPT the information it needs.

The more information and context you give ChatGPT, the better. Yes, it’s best to use clear, simple prompts. But, it’s just as important to give it the information it needs to output an email as close to what you’re looking for as possible.

Here’s some information that will help ChatGPT output a better email:

Adding those basic details about your nonprofit’s fundraising event to the prompt improved ChatGPT’s output quite a bit.

ChatGPT likes to propose fundraising event details that might not be true.

Because ChatGPT is a generous AI that was trained on countless fundraising campaign emails, it has a tendency to embellish it’s emails with details that may or may not be part of your nonprofit’s event.

…delicious burgers, hot dogs, veggie options, and more! - ChatGPT
…lawn games, music… - ChatGPT

ChatGPT tossed in these details because it knows that a large portion of emails that mention “spring BBQ” also mention burgers, hot dogs, lawn games and music. This is a great example of why it’s important to read over everything ChatGPT writes for you.

The good news is, this is easy to fix. You can either include even more details in your initial prompt, change your event to include the proposed ideas, or ask ChatGPT to revise it’s work.

Revise. Revise. Revise.

Let’s say your event is only service BBQ chicken, tofu and delicious corn on the cob—burgers and hot dogs were last years menu items. But, the local ice cream shop has generously donated desert and there will be live music and beach volleyball.

Well, you can ask ChatGPT to adjust the content of the email.

Nonprofits can use ChatGPT’s email writing skills.

We’ve gone over how to use ChatGPT to write an email announcing your nonprofit’s upcoming event. But, the same steps and tips apply to any email you want to write.

Using ChatGPT to help write your nonprofit’s newsletter.

We thought we’d show you one last example: ChatGPT’s newsletter writing abilities.

We started by asking ChatGPT to “Write a fall newsletter for Zeffy.”

There’s a lot to talk about here. ChatGPT used the information from earlier in our conversation to mention the Spring BBQ—assuming that because we asked for a fall newsletter, it could safely thank everyone for attending. It followed that up with a whole lot of randomness. We can only assume that there is more than one Zeffy out there.

This shows the importance of inputing the right information so that ChatGPT has the knowledge it needs to output a newsletter that makes sense. Think of it as briefing a freelance writer.

It’s still not perfect. But it’s in a much better place and we could very easily take it from here.

The take-away, don’t be stingy with the information you input into ChatGPT. It’s been trained on a lot of data, but all of it is from 2021 and earlier. So, it doesn’t know everything and doesn’t really know that it doesn’t know everything. And that means it will use the predictive text model it was built on to do what it does best a predict what it thinks should come next.

That being said, it still “wrote” a newsletter in under 15 seconds.

Read more on how your nonprofit can use ChatGPT:

Everyone’s talking about ChatGPT—nonprofits included.

How to ask ChatGPT a question: Tips to Get Better Answers.

How nonprofits can use ChatGPT to write social media posts.

ChatGPT can help plan your next fundraising event.

Yes, ChatGPT can help nonprofits with the grant application process. Well, kind of.