We Asked ChatGPT to Write a Nonprofit Fundraising Appeal: Here's What Happened
ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot, is a hot topic of conversation these days.
In case you haven’t heard, people are using this free online tool to generate a variety of text-based content like emails, social media copy, and office manuals. Students are using it to help write papers and complete homework assignments. More imaginative users have employed this AI tool to make up jokes, guide weight loss, outline movie plots, and more. One user even wrote an entire children’s book using ChatGPT in just 72 hours.
Some celebrate ChatGPT as a leap forward for content creators. Others decry it as high-tech plagiarism. What isn’t up for debate is this: ChatGPT represents a tipping point for AI. The genie is out of the bottle, and has no intention of going back in.
As fundraisers, we were curious. Could ChatGPT write a fundraising letter? So we put it to the test. We gave ChatGPT this very simple instruction:
“Write a fundraising letter for Pachyonychia Congenita.”
And here’s what it wrote:
Dear friends and supporters,
We hope this letter finds you well. We are writing to ask for your support in raising funds for Pachyonychia Congenita (PC), a rare genetic disorder that affects the nails, skin, and oral cavity.
PC is a devastating disorder that affects both children and adults, causing severe pain, disfigurement, and disability. There is currently no cure for PC, and treatment options are limited. We believe that with your help, we can change that.
Our organization is dedicated to raising awareness about PC and funding research to find a cure. We believe that with your help, we can make a real difference in the lives of those affected by this disorder.
We are asking for your support in the form of a donation. Any amount, no matter how small, will help us to continue our work. Your donation will go directly towards funding research and providing support to those affected by PC.
We understand that times may be tough, but please know that your donation will make a real difference. Together, we can change the lives of those affected by Pachyonychia Congenita.
Thank you in advance for your support.
[Your name] [Your organization name]
Please make your donation payable to [Your organization name] and mail it to [Your organization address] or donate through our website [Your organization website link]
Thank you for your support!
Okay, this isn’t the best fundraising letter we’ve ever seen. But it certainly isn’t the worst. If you were a nonprofit just starting out with no real budget for fundraising, and someone handed you this letter, you’d be off to a pretty good start.
Look at what’s included:
- A concise explanation of the disease and the problems it causes
- A description of the organization’s mission
- A promise to the donor how their funds will be used
- A clear call to action
Yes, the letter is relatively cold and lacks emotion. There’s a little too much emphasis on the nonprofit (“We are...” and “Our organization is...”) and not the donor or beneficiaries. But the skeleton is pretty solid. Add a touching story about someone who has been helped by the nonprofit, edit the language to be more “you-focused” on the donor, and include some suggested dollar amounts — and you’ll probably have a viable fundraising letter.
AI tools like ChatGPT can’t replace professional fundraisers ... yet. But perhaps these resources can be employed to expedite the more mundane tasks like outlining or writing first drafts of fundraising appeals and newsletters, thus allowing nonprofits to put more of their time and energy into relationship building and person-to-person stewardship.
While the final verdict on ChatGPT isn’t in yet, we believe that if a tool can help nonprofits strengthen their relationship with donors, it’s worth a closer look.