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How Chatbots Can Help Your Fundraising Efforts

January 30, 2018

You’re on a store’s website and have just wasted about 5 minutes trying to find the store’s Return Policy for an item you purchased. A small box window grabs your attention from the right corner of your screen. You take a quick glance thinking it’s a pop-up ad. But it’s not. In fact, it’s a live chat window with a representative named Chrissy at your beckoning.

She asks, “How may I help you?”. You type in the response box saying you’re looking for information on the store’s return policy. Chrissy promptly responds back with a link to the site’s page specifically on Item Returns. Voilà!

And congratulations. You have just interacted with probably your first but definitely not your last Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Specifically, a chatbot.

Chrissy is one of numerous A.I. chat platforms or chatbots used by major consumer and industry brands across different sectors with their sole purpose to easily engage and provide more customized information to the individual user in real-time. All of this is accomplished without having to interact with a real person.

The Emerging Chatbot Trend

The current growing trend for chatbots is using their capabilities for events. One of their primary objectives is to seamlessly communicate with audiences’ prior, during and post event. Instead of having a real person monitor and respond via the Contact Us or Customer Service email, a chatbot will be available 24/7 to answer FAQs and if stuck, then they will send an alert to the Events team regarding any special requests or unique issues that could not be answered.

Fundraising Chatbots

Chatbots aren’t new but they are an innovation that is slowly starting to be adopted in other sectors; especially non-profits and in different ways. One example is St. Jude’s Hospital which holds a silent auction during their fundraising event, Savannah’s Song. A chatbox channel was used to increase funding levels for the auction whereby if someone got outbid, the bot would come back to the person to ask if they would like to bid again at the next increment. The results showed a very high engagement rate such that over 80% of bids came through the bot and the event saw a 20% increase in average auction prices over the previous year.

With the tight budgets surrounding charities and how they spend donor dollars, the usage of chatbots will help take away additional administrative tasks, costs and time that would otherwise have been spent recruiting staff or volunteers to do. Chatbots can interact with donors and supporters by providing a unique human-like experience through direct conversations with them.

Chatbots are here to stay and we will begin to see them very frequently in the future.

…and they don’t need breaks!

About the Author

Ewans is an excellent addition to our team with more than five years’ experience in the non-profit industry with a focus on digital fundraising and CRM management. Previously, Ewans worked at the Canadian Cancer Society – National Office, where his role included being accountable for all donor information tracking in Raiser’s Edge, setting up of IFE’s via Luminate Online and prospect research work, when needed. Ewans is a graduate of the Humber Fundraising and Volunteer Management Program (Class of 2013). When he’s not at work Ewans enjoys pursuing his new-found passion – curling!