A black computer screen with writing explaining ChatGPT pro in the background. In the foreground there is a mobile phone showing a ChatGPT screen with some prompts.

Using ChatGPT to help you carry out everyday work tasks more quickly and efficiently.

In this article, I'll explain what you can use ChatGPT for, the differences between the free and paid version and give examples of ChatGPT prompts that can help you in your work.

I’m focusing on how to use ChatGPT because it’s the best-known advanced AI chatbot. But these suggestions can work for any generative AI tools.

About generative AI

ChatGPT is a generative AI tool. Generative AI is an umbrella term for models and algorithms that can create text, images, video audio and code. The main ways it can help your charity are by:

  • saving you time
  • streamlining the creative process
  • letting you focus on other tasks that AI is not able to do (yet).

This kind of tech is easy to use, but there are ethical questions to consider if you’re going to include it in your workflow. We wrote a guide to how your charity can use AI ethically.

What you can use ChatGPT for

ChatGPT can help you with:

  • researching  – you can ask it questions
  • identifying gaps. For example, what you should consider when thinking about a particular topic 
  • explaining concepts you don’t know much about
  • coming up with ideas 
  • creating content – things like reports, plans, checklists and social media posts
  • editing – shortening paragraphs and sentences to make them easily readable. And adjusting the tone, language and word count
  • summarising text 
  • improving a document’s structure
  • structuring and notes and improving their readability
  • producing outlines
  • repurposing content – for example, turning a case study or blog post into a LinkedIn post
  • reviewing scripts for interviews with users
  • synthesizing data from user research sessions.

The differences between free and paid for ChatGPT 

The free version of ChatGPT runs on GPT-3.5 Turbo. At the time of writing, January 2024, a Plus account gives you access to the version of ChatGPT that runs on the more advanced GPT-4. This costs $20 (about £16) a month. 

Here’s what you get with the free and paid versions:

Free version of ChatGPT

  • Runs on GPT-3.5 Turbo
  • Understands, processes and generates text
  • Can go down during peak times when traffic is high
  • No access to Code Interpreter
  • Cannot build your own customised versions of ChatGPT
  • No access to prebuilt GPTs

Paid version of ChatGPT

  • Runs on GPT-4 which is more powerful, so produces better and more accurate answers
  • Understands, processes and generates both text and images 
  • Gets priority status at peak times
  • Access to Code Interpreter which allows you to upload a file, for example a spreadsheet, document, or presentation. ChatGPT analyses the file then can answer questions about it, or pick out specific information and present it in a different format
  • Can build your own customised versions of ChatGPT to carry out specific tasks. For example, a social media optimiser that can look at all the tweets from your X account and tell you the best times to post them based on past engagement levels
  • Access to Open AI’s collection of customised versions of ChatGPT prebuilt GPTs. For example the Donor Communicator and Donor Communication Expert

Which version you choose depends on your budget, and what you’re going to use ChatGPT for. If it’s just for generating ideas, researching, drafting and editing, ChatGPT Plus’ extra features probably will not be that helpful. That said, it’s supposed to be faster and more accurate than the free version.

What you need to know about prompts

Prompts are the questions you ask, and instructions you give, ChatGPT. Clear, simple and specific prompts get the best results. You should include things like the format, tone and word count you want. And it’s worth including examples so ChatGPT knows what to aim for. You can tell it to respond in UK English and to cite its sources. And you can give it feedback by liking helpful responses and disliking unhelpful, untrue or unsafe ones.

ChatGPT logs your conversations, including any personal data, so do not include any confidential information in your conversations with it. Open AI’s frequently asked questions about ChatGPT says: “Your conversations may be reviewed by our AI trainers to improve our systems.” And “We are not able to delete specific prompts from your history. Please don't share any sensitive information in your conversations.”

Some ChatGPT prompts to try

These example prompts will show you what ChatGPT is capable of, and how you might use it in your work. Play around with them to see what kind of wording and level of detail are best for you. 

Prompts for research

  • I need help understanding how [topic/issue] works
  • Explain [topic/issue of your choice] in language that a 9-year old would understand

Prompts for general content creation

Act as an expert content writer and draft [detailed description of your the content you need, including: the type of content (for example, social media post, blog post, fundraising email or video script), the topic or subject matter, target audience, style or tone (for example, formal, informal, persuasive), specific points or key messages to get across, any research requirements, word count, and any other relevant details]. 

Prompts for editing

  • Check the grammar in this report for our funders and suggest improvements: [link]
  • Check this [document/paragraph] and suggest ways to improve the clarity and concision of each sentence: [content]
  • Check this case study for repetitive words and phrases and suggest alternatives: [content]
  • Summarise this text [text] in 5 bullet points
  • Are there any typos in this Instagram caption [text]?
  • Suggest linking/transition words or phrases to improve the flow between paragraphs and sentences in this blog post: [text]
  • Make sure there are no spelling mistakes in this email and check it for readability and tone [content]

Prompts for events

  • I’m organising an in-person event to promote [what you’re promoting]. The aims of this event are [aims], it’s for [target group(s)] and the details for this event are [details]. Write a persuasive but not pushy email to market this event
  • The charity I work for focuses on [mission] it’s hosting an event on [topic/theme]. Its purpose is to [purpose] and the attendees are from [organisations/sectors/positions]. What are some creative ideas for relevant, interesting and engaging event content for these attendees?
  • What should I include in post-event surveys to collect actionable feedback on session topics and content, the speakers, and the venue and timings? What’s the best way for me to analyse the data I get to improve future events?

Prompts for leaflets and posters

Design an eye-catching and informative [leaflet/poster] aimed at [audience] that explains/outlines [what you want to communicate/promote] 

Prompts for recruitment

  • Act as an expert Human Resources Manager who has to write a job description for a [add job title]. Create a detailed job outline
  • Turn these paragraphs about job responsibilities for a [job title] into clear and brief bullet points
  • Create a job description that lists the skills, knowledge and experience we need in a volunteer [job title].
  • Describe our charity’s culture, how we work and our employee benefits in a way that will be attractive to candidates applying for our [job title] role

Prompts for content planning

Create a [time period, for example 4-month] content calendar for a [topic/issue] [social media platform] account, posting [number] times a week

Prompts for blog posts

  • Write a 750-word blog post about [subject], and include the following keywords in the headline, subheading, and body paragraphs [keywords]
  • Write 5 thought-provoking/intriguing titles for a blog post about [topic]
  • Write 5 subheadings for a blog post with the following title [title]
  • Write a 150-character (max) meta description for this blog post [the introduction]

Prompts for presentations

Write an outline for a presentation for [audience] about [topic]. It should cover [main points you want to make]

Prompts for instagram

  • Create 5 ideas for creating content on Instagram on the topic of [relevant awareness day for your charity]
  • Write an engaging Instagram caption for an image featuring [describe the image]
  • Create 4 possible titles for an Instagram post about our charity’s values. Our values are [values]
  • Write a informative 100-word Instagram caption about [topic] in an informal tone and include relevant hashtags

Remember: you're responsible, you know best

It’s unlikely that ChatGPT will produce good enough content for you to be able to use it word for word. You’ll need to:

  • review and fact check its responses
  • edit its responses
  • remove anything that’s irrelevant, wrong, biased or discriminatory.

Also, ChatGPT does not have your authenticity, creativity, empathy and understanding of nuance. Nor your unique combination of experience of the issues your charity deals with. Nor your knowledge of its challenges and aspirations.

So although ChatGPT is useful and can save you mental energy, it’s not a replacement for critical thinking. And it makes mistakes, so do not rely on it. View it as another tool to help you in your work. 

Further information

Thinking about the ethics of AI? Read our guide to using AI ethically.

Want a more general introduction to AI? You can read Andy Gordon and Edd Baldry of Torchbox's article about how to create content using AI or their introduction to AI for nonprofits.

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