AI Prompts to Jumpstart Your End-of-Year Fundraising

So, it begins… your year-end-campaign message writing session:

You stare at the blank page, open last year’s materials for inspiration, type a few sentences… delete them. You open LinkedIn to see if any other organizations you respect have shared new messages (“Am I already late to the game?”) You revisit your notes, surely there’s some good stuff there! Cut, paste, then delete again. Get distracted and find yourself on Instagram. All the while, your cursor blinks at you, your blank page a vast expanse of white.

Ever been there? Thankfully, this year, you have new tools at your disposal!

We’ve broken down three steps to take you from a blank page to a full portfolio of messages, harnessing generative AI as a jumpstart and helping hand. If access is allowed through your organization’s policies, generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Bard AI, or Bing AI can help to break you out of your typical messaging and give you a foundation to work with. These tools are designed to be conversational in nature, so you can workshop and build upon each prompt until you have a first draft to make your own.

Nobody knows your supporters like you do. AI can’t replace the time you’ve put into understanding your donor’s needs, the importance of your mission, or the voice that you’ve honed for your organization. But it can be a helpful new “writing buddy”! Using the steps below, you can cut out the inner critic and jump ahead to the good stuff: rallying donors to your cause!

Step One: Create segmented messages to carry through your campaign!

Open that blank doc and start by answering questions like: “What impact can our donors make by contributing to our mission this year?” “What steps in our strategic plan do we want to announce or highlight?” or “What value does our organization bring to the community that nobody else can provide?” You’ve just named a few key points to highlight in your end-of-year campaign!

Once you have a few rough bullets, you can feed them into a generative AI tool to workshop different phrasing, even tailoring your message to donor levels. Revise the messages to fit your brand or continue to feed the AI information to narrow in on a campaign message you can carry across your platforms. Keep in mind, tools like ChatGPT are most effective when you are hyper-specific in your prompts, including details like word count, call-to-actions, tone, and intended audience. Try using “you” statements, putting the AI in your shoes.

📝 Example Prompt: “You are a nonprofit focused on land preservation, emphasizing community involvement. You’ll be opening three new education centers over the next year. Write three taglines of less than 100 words to encourage donations for an end-of-year giving campaign, each tailored to a first-time giver, someone who gives regularly to the nonprofit, and a major donor.”

🤖 AI Response:

First-Time Giver: “Join the Movement: Preserve Land, Empower Communities! Your first donation can create a lasting impact, nurturing nature and fostering local engagement in our three new education centers. Together, let’s protect our planet for future generations.”

Regular Donor: “Sustaining Nature’s Legacy: Unleash Your Giving Power! Your consistent support has already transformed lives and landscapes. Now, as we unveil three groundbreaking education centers, let’s continue our journey to preserve cherished lands and inspire communities.”

Major Donor: “Elevate Conservation, Ignite Change: Unleash Your Philanthropic Vision! Your significant contributions have laid the foundation for success. With your partnership, we’re set to empower entire communities through education centers, forging a legacy of sustainable land preservation. Let’s achieve greatness together!”

From here you can highlight phrases that you like, weave in your mission statement, and customize the messaging so that it fits within your voice and will resonate with your donors. With words on the page and your writing juices flowing, think about how to get your message out there more effectively!

Step Two: Test out these messages with a social media post.

A strong message is great but must be tailored to the right audience. To take the abstract ideas produced above and pressure test them in a real-world scenario, try generating a few social media posts. Once again, specifics are key when crafting your prompt. For example, if you want to reach potential donors on Instagram who are millennial families, you can emphasize how the next steps of your strategic plan will affect them directly.

📝 Example Prompt: “Using the first-time giver message you produced, write five Instagram posts with a strong call-to-action to donate and stress that their donations will give young families the ability to connect with nature while learning the importance of preserving our local ecosystem. Your tone should be heartfelt, earnest, and personal.”

🤖 AI Response:

🌟🌿 Ignite a spark of wonder in young hearts! Your first donation ignites curiosity and fosters a lifelong passion for land preservation. Make an impact today—pledge your support to build three exceptional education centers where children can explore, learn, and grow alongside nature’s marvels. Together, we’ll shape a greener, brighter tomorrow! 🌎🌱 #DonateForGood #FirstTimeGivers #EmpowerYoungMinds #NatureInspires #ConservationMatters

Notice a few words that repeat in the AI-generated caption? Not really feeling the copious emojis? No worries, this is just a start. With five examples to choose from, you can tailor the message to your needs or find inspiration in turns of phrase or hashtags you wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Now that you’re getting the hang of coaching your AI partner, you can take these ideas and expand them across your campaign.

Step Three: Build out your end-of-year campaign portfolio!

An effective end-of-year campaign speaks to each of your donors individually. This means optimizing your messages for each platform, from direct mail to Facebook ads. Consider which demographic of donors, or prospective donors, you are targeting on each channel, then craft a prompt that asks the tool to adjust your message to suit them.

📝 Example Prompt: “Coming from the same organization, write a letter to a regular donor who has upgraded their support recently. Include a call for donations that emphasizes how their continued support of educational outreach with local universities will foster a new generation of biologists to preserve our regional ecosystem. Include an invitation to join us for a nature walk on February 16th. The tone should be grateful, personal, and urgent.”

By now, you’re not only filling up a blank page but also learning the ins and outs of crafting an effective prompt for generative AI (go ahead and add “AI prompt engineer” to your resume!) Depending on how you feel, you can log off and take it from here or you can continue to feed your content into the AI tool for iterations on your edited copy: “Summarize this email in 2 sentences,” “Add more gratitude,” “Punch up this call to action.”

Ideally, generative AI can be a tool that speeds your work by breaking you free of blank page paralysis–giving you more time to connect more deeply with your supporters this giving season. By focusing on the high-level strategy and allowing these tools to speed up your copywriting and iteration process, you can dedicate more time to new initiatives like peer-to-peer campaigns, securing major gifts and matches for your GivingTuesday campaigns, or planning exciting events to bring your community together around your cause.

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