What’s bad about AI writing is nothing new

Worried about what AI might do to your career or fundraising?

(My take: Don’t worry, it might be a useful tool for some, inexperienced fundraisers may misuse it, but that doesn’t really change anything.)

Then I saw this:

FRcomic

It’s on a piece of direct mail fundraising. The blurred-out part is the recipient’s real name.

Okay, pretty cool way to grab a reader’s attention, right? (I think it’s pretty spiffy, and I bet it helps increase response.)

But just look at the writing! Robotic, abstract, awkward. Not at all what a real person would say. (Also, it’s not funny, but I can forgive that.)

It looks like it’s AI-written, but I don’t think it is, because I got it almost a year ago, before AI Fever swept the fundraising sector. And let’s admit it — we’ve all seen writing just like that all our lives.

My point: You don’t have to be a robot to write like one. Plenty of human writers struggle to sound human, either because they lack the skill, or because there’s a committee making sure any humanity or naturalness is fully edited out before it gets published.

The scourge of stilted, poor, inhuman copy has been with us for a long time. Probably dating back to the markings-scratched-onto-clay-tablets days.

AI doesn’t change that. It just churns it out faster. Which may not be such a bad thing.

There’s always going to be room for skillful copywriters who are able to write good copy. Some of them will (maybe already are) using AI as a first-draft tool that it should be.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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