AI and ChatGPT: What is it and how do I use it?

You’ve seen news stories, read about it, and maybe even tried it out yourself. But what is it really?

If this were 1994, you might think I’m talking about this new thing they call the internet or the “world wide web”. I recently saw an old clip from The Today Show where Katie Couric and her co-anchors asked, “What is the internet anyway?”.

Fast forward almost 30 years later and the questions are the same, this time referring to AI or artificial intelligence, and ChatGPT.

We’ve all benefited from AI for decades. As I’m writing this article, my screen is completing words for me and much of the time it’s correct and helpful. That’s just one example of AI in use. Others are automatic lane correction in cars, and ads about cowboy boots that pop up on your screen just after you’ve been shopping for a pair.

AI has been around since the 1950’s when Alan Turing published his paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Now, with faster computing, AI can do things only imagined in the 1960’s cartoon, The Jetsons.

To start understanding what it all means, let’s dive into the AI alphabet soup and figure out how these terms all inter-relate. ChatGPT is a large language model (LLM) trained by OpenAI that can understand and respond to human language.

Open AI is the San Francisco based company that released ChatGPT for public use in November 2022. It’s by far the fastest growing app to date with 100 million users just two months after launch. But keep an eye out for other fast-growing tech companies in the same space.

A Large Language Model is a computer program that has been trained on a large amount of data to understand and generate human-like language. It can assist with tasks such as answering questions and writing text for you.

Think of the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) as being the “engine” that runs the program and the “Chat” being the means by which YOU interact with it. Simple, right?

The best way to learn about ChatGPT is to start using it! It’s free (at least for now) and you can open an account at OpenAI, login and start asking it questions.

If you’re in the nonprofit fundraising and grant writing field like me, you might ask ChatGPT:

  • Tell me about [name of your city] in two paragraphs.
  • Write me a one-page thank you letter to a donor that gave $1,000 to [insert name of nonprofit].
  • Tell me about childhood poverty in [your town or city].
  • What is the best way to measure youth outcomes from a youth theater program?
  • What is Grants4Good? Had to ask this one…turns out it was pretty accurate, with just one mistake.

I’ve tried all these, and the results are nothing short of incredible.

Is it exactly how I might have written the text? No, but it’s a great starting point to work from.

Keep in mind ChatGPT works entirely by making predictions on what words should follow each other. It has no inherent intelligence, but it can surprisingly mimic human semantics and syntax (and even write with emotion). It bases its predicted language on the patterns and probabilities that it has “learned” from billions of text data parameters.

That’s why ChatGPT has limitations regarding what it can do for you.

ChatGPT cannot provide references or specific articles. You’ll need to use Google or your favorite search engine for that. It cannot be relied upon to be completely accurate, so for now, you’ll want to check any data results to be sure you are developing accurate content. And be aware that studies have already shown bias in its language generating capabilities with regards to gender, race, marginalized groups and other areas.

Bottom line: ChatGPT is GREAT for generating a first draft. Then you, the human, does the editing so we know the content comes from the unique creative and awesome individual that you are!

Stay tuned for future articles on ChatGPT and similar AI platforms and what they can (and can’t) do for you.

Want to learn more? Then sign up to watch my on-demand webinar, ChatGPT and AI for Nonprofit Fundraising and Grant Writing.

©2023, Grants4Good LLC®

margit brazada poirier

Hi, I’m Margit Brazda Poirier

I founded Grants4Good in 2009 to help nonprofit organizations and businesses find and get grants. Since then, I’ve helped thousands of people raise millions of dollars for programs via private coaching, customized grant writing training, and my course All About Grant Writing.

Free Guide

Learn the exact steps that helped raise over 30 million in grants for my clients.

grants 4 good logo

© Grants4Good®     All rights reserved

website design by Natalie McGuire Design