AI for the Arts

AI for the Arts

Thomas Williams is the Programmes and Development Coordinator at Cause4.

Last year we asked ChatGPT to generate a series of blog posts on the questions and ethics surrounding AI usage. In this blog, we are going to take a closer look at concrete ways small arts organisations can begin using AI to support their work.

What do we mean when we say AI?

To keep things simple, we will be focussing exclusively on free-to-use, text-generating AI like ChatGPT, Gemini (previously Google Bard), and Bing Chat. Known as Large Language Models (LLMs) these AI can recognise and generate text responses to a wide variety of prompts and tasks. 

Of course, there are many more types of AI but, for small organisations looking to get started with AI for the first time, we think these models offer a good and accessible starting point. 

Using LLMs for Marketing

For small arts organisations, sticking to a marketing or social media schedule can be difficult. We are all aware of the benefits of consistent and engaging communication with our audiences but, when things get busy, writing a Tweet or updating the website often takes a backseat. 

This is something AI can help with. As explained in HdK’s recent webinar ‘Work smarter, not harder: AI and digital marketing in the arts’, AI is able to quickly generate text for social media and communications. In doing this, AI saves you valuable time and spares you from the anxiety-inducing blank page starting point. 

To give an example of how AI can help with marketing, we asked ChatGPT to advertise our recent blog post The Benefits of Trusteeship. We asked: “Write 5 tweets to advertise and promote the text below. The tweets should use emotive language and encourage people to read the text below.” 

We then copy and pasted the article in its entirety and let the AI do the rest. This is what it came up with:

  1. Dive into the fulfilling world of charity trusteeship! Make a meaningful difference, broaden your horizons, and grow both personally and professionally. Discover why it's a journey worth embarking on. #Trustee #MakeADifference

  2. Ready to step up and make a lasting impact? Being a charity trustee isn't just about responsibilities; it's about personal satisfaction, professional growth, and expanding your network. Find out why it's a rewarding path to take. #Charity #Leadership

  3. Joining a charity board isn't just a role; it's a transformative experience. Gain new perspectives, develop vital skills, and connect with inspiring individuals from diverse backgrounds. Your journey as a trustee awaits! #Community #Empowerment

  4. Elevate your career while serving a greater purpose! As a charity trustee, you'll contribute to meaningful causes, expand your professional network, and hone essential skills that set you apart. Explore the fulfilling world of trusteeship today. #CareerGrowth #Impact

  5. Unlock the power of giving back and shaping change! Becoming a charity trustee isn't just about what you can do for others; it's about the incredible journey of growth, fulfilment, and making a lasting difference in the world. Discover your trustee story now. #GivingBack #ChangeMakers

Now, admittedly this is not the most exhilarating or engaging copy we have seen, but it nevertheless gave us a very good starting point and series of ideas to flesh out and spruce up. In a process where getting started is often the hardest part, this is not something to be underestimated.

Writing Tweets is just the beginning when it comes to social media and communications. Using more complex prompts such as a word count, desired tone, and key information to include, allows you to use AI to generate a wide range of copy. As an example, take a look at what Gemini came up with when asked, “Write a post for LinkedIn of no more than 50 words advertising the following” (for this we inserted all the information on our upcoming Trustee Leadership Programme course).

Develop Your Charity Leadership & Join a Board!
Award-winning Trustee Leadership Programme returns virtually on June 5th & 6th. Gain the skills & confidence to become a charity Trustee.

Course covers:
•    Charity sector overview
•    Governance & strategic planning
•    Financial management
•    Fundraising intro

Bonus: Expert guest speaker, Q&A, & bespoke matching to Trustee vacancies.
Limited bursary places available!
£109.22 (incl. VAT) - Register here: [Cause4 charity leadership program]
#charity #leadership #nonprofit #governance

Again, this doesn’t exactly set the world on fire and the wording is a little different to our normal tone, but it is a good indication of both what can be included in 50 words and how we could go about structuring a post of this nature.

AI for fundraisers

It’s not just marketing where AI can be of use. Using LLMs can also support and speed up fundraising work. 

When it comes using AI to support with fundraising, it’s likely you will be asking the LLM to create longer and more complex copy than you would if you were asking it to generate a tweet. Whether it be a Case for Support, thank-you letter or question in a funding application, you will likely be looking for a larger and more specific piece of text. To make this happen, Product Manager at Google Jeff Su recommends making your prompt as specific as possible. As a guide, he lays out 6 categories to make your prompts more specific: 

  1. Task – “Write 200 words to a potential funder laying out why they should sponsor an upcoming theatre performance…”

  2. Persona “You are a senior fundraiser for the theatre company…”

  3. Context “and this is the largest show the company has run in its history.”

  4. Tone “The tone should be inspirational…”

  5. Format “and lay out the ground-breaking nature of the performance, the high-quality cast, and the impact the show could have on the company.”

  6. Example “Here is an example from a previous letter.”

The attachment below shows what this prompt, minus the ‘Example’, produced when entered into ChatGPT and Gemini. You can also see Jeff’s full advice here.

Interestingly, you can see here that the LLMs both produce slightly different text. This gives you double the inspiration and means you can mix and match the text to suit your organisational style and goals.

AI for administration

The ability of LLMs can also be harnessed to speed up administrative tasks. 

In a recent Third Sector webinar, Karen Marter, Head of Technology and Strategy at the British Heart Foundation, discussed how the organisation is using Microsoft Copilot to automate daily and administrative tasks. Whilst we are not looking at Copilot in this blog (you can read more about Copilot here), there are nevertheless several useful learnings to be taken.

These learnings include using AI to write minutes after meetings, draft policy documents (including, somewhat ironically, an AI Usage Policy), and summarise large documents that need to be read before meetings. These are tasks that are easily performed by ChatGPT and Gemini and, to date, have contributed to an average saving of 45 minutes per day across the British Heart Foundation’s employees. 

Using AI Safely

Hopefully this blog has shown you that, no matter the size of your organisation, there are ways you can quickly and easily benefit from AI.

However, these benefits do not come without risks. As with any writing, users must always be mindful of copyright and plagiarism. If a user puts confidential or copyrighted information into an LLM, they will get confidential or copyrighted information back. 

Equally, as the examples above have demonstrated, AI does not produce perfect text. LLMs are also known to make up sources and citations for the information they provide and can often produce text that does not quite match with what the user has in mind. Checking text produced by AI for accuracy and clarity is an integral part of using this technology.

For more information on using LLMs safely, follow the links below. The articles predominantly focus on ChatGPT but the learnings can also be employed when using other LLMs. 

We hope this blog post has given you a few ideas on how your organisation might start using AI. If you have any questions, thoughts or ideas, please leave them in comments below!