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As a non-profit manager, you likely already see the potential of AI tools like ChatGPT and Claude to enhance your content creation and messaging. But to truly unlock that potential, it pays to level up your prompt engineering skills.

Prompt engineering is the art of crafting effective prompts to get the most useful output from AI. With thoughtful prompting, you can make AI a versatile partner for writing, editing, ideation, and more.

Here are some prompt engineering basics every non-profit should know when working with a generative AI platform:

Be Clear and Concise: AI models perform best when prompts are direct and succinct. Try to frame your request in less than three sentences. For example: “Please write a 100-word social media post announcing our upcoming gala fundraiser event for at-risk youth.”

Specific Details Are Key: Give the AI relevant details like audience, tone, format, and purpose. For a gala post, you could say:  “The audience is our donors and supporters on Facebook. Use an enthusiastic, inspiring tone and focus on how funds raised will expand our mentorship program.”

Explain the Context: If you want the AI to craft messaging around a new initiative, give an overview first:

“We are launching a career mentoring program for low-income high school students called Pathways. The goal is to connect students to professionals for coaching on college and career planning.”

Then make your content request as to what you want created.

Direct the Style: Guide the AI’s writing style by providing examples or describing tone.

“Write a press release in the style of this sample, with short punchy paragraphs and inspiring quotes, “ and “Make the writing credible, friendly, and warm, with language accessible to a high-school audience.”

Troubleshoot with Follow-Ups: If the AI doesn’t nail your request, try tweaking your prompt or asking for revisions.

For example: “The tone sounds too formal. Can you make it more casual and inspiring?”

Repetition and tuning get results. 

Don’t get discouraged if your early attempts falter. Prompt engineering is a process of refinement. Analyze what worked and didn’t in each result to improve future prompts.

Prompt Syntax Matters

  • Use clear commands: “Write a…”, “Summarize this…”, “Expand on the topic…”
  • Separate requests with line breaks or bullet points instead of cramming them together.
  • Numbering requests can help the AI address them sequentially. For example:
    1. Write a 100-word summary of our new after-school program for underserved teens including key details like the activities, outcomes, and community partners.
    2. Now expand that summary into a 300-word program overview article for our website, going more in-depth on the program components and their benefits for youth.
    3. Finally, draft a 75-word version tailored as a social media post to get parents excited about enrolling their teens. Focus on the fun elements and skills gained.

Prompt engineering allows you to better tap into AI’s potential for your nonprofit without as much tedious trial and error. Approach prompts as conversations – be friendly yet specific in guiding the AI to create materials that truly resonate with your community.

The only way to get started is to try it out.

Let me know if you would like me to further expand or refine the examples and explanations in the post. Happy to iterate further on it!

 

This post is part of a series called PROMPTS THAT WORK: Getting Started With AI. 

Other posts include:

 

As a non-profit manager, you likely already see the potential of AI tools like ChatGPT and Claude to enhance your content creation and messaging. But to truly unlock that potential, it pays to level up your prompt engineering skills.

Prompt engineering is the art of crafting effective prompts to get the most useful output from AI. With thoughtful prompting, you can make AI a versatile partner for writing, editing, ideation, and more.

Here are some prompt engineering basics every non-profit should know when working with a generative AI platform:

Be Clear and Concise: AI models perform best when prompts are direct and succinct. Try to frame your request in less than three sentences. For example: “Please write a 100-word social media post announcing our upcoming gala fundraiser event for at-risk youth.”

Specific Details Are Key: Give the AI relevant details like audience, tone, format, and purpose. For a gala post, you could say:  “The audience is our donors and supporters on Facebook. Use an enthusiastic, inspiring tone and focus on how funds raised will expand our mentorship program.”

Explain the Context: If you want the AI to craft messaging around a new initiative, give an overview first:

“We are launching a career mentoring program for low-income high school students called Pathways. The goal is to connect students to professionals for coaching on college and career planning.”

Then make your content request as to what you want created.

Direct the Style: Guide the AI’s writing style by providing examples or describing tone.

“Write a press release in the style of this sample, with short punchy paragraphs and inspiring quotes, “ and “Make the writing credible, friendly, and warm, with language accessible to a high-school audience.”

Troubleshoot with Follow-Ups: If the AI doesn’t nail your request, try tweaking your prompt or asking for revisions.

For example: “The tone sounds too formal. Can you make it more casual and inspiring?”

Repetition and tuning get results. 

Don’t get discouraged if your early attempts falter. Prompt engineering is a process of refinement. Analyze what worked and didn’t in each result to improve future prompts.

Prompt Syntax Matters

  • Use clear commands: “Write a…”, “Summarize this…”, “Expand on the topic…”
  • Separate requests with line breaks or bullet points instead of cramming them together.
  • Numbering requests can help the AI address them sequentially. For example:
    1. Write a 100-word summary of our new after-school program for underserved teens including key details like the activities, outcomes, and community partners.
    2. Now expand that summary into a 300-word program overview article for our website, going more in-depth on the program components and their benefits for youth.
    3. Finally, draft a 75-word version tailored as a social media post to get parents excited about enrolling their teens. Focus on the fun elements and skills gained.

Prompt engineering allows you to better tap into AI’s potential for your nonprofit without as much tedious trial and error. Approach prompts as conversations – be friendly yet specific in guiding the AI to create materials that truly resonate with your community.

The only way to get started is to try it out.

Let me know if you would like me to further expand or refine the examples and explanations in the post. Happy to iterate further on it!

 

This post is part of a series called PROMPTS THAT WORK: Getting Started With AI. 

Other posts include: