9 reasons your nonprofit needs a chatbot
The game-changing tool that'll help your nonprofit save time, get new donors and volunteers, and expand its impact: a Messenger chatbot.
Your nonprofit is missing out on a game-changing tool for saving time, getting new donors and volunteers, and expanding its impact! We’re talking about Messenger chatbots for nonprofits. They’re incredibly powerful tools for organizations like yours, and we’re on a mission to spread the word.
Chatbots are automated assistants that will converse back and forth with people automatically on your organization’s behalf. Messenger chatbots do this conversing in Facebook Messenger. But stay with us—they’re not as intimidating as they sound, and they’re completely within reach for your organization.
Because with a no-code tool like Chatfuel, anyone can build a bot. You don’t need to know how to code. You don’t need a degree in computer science. You (yes, you!) can build a chatbot for your organization yourself.
Before we share resources on how you can build a chatbot, let’s talk about why you should build one. Here are nine reasons your nonprofit organization needs a bot, plus chatbot examples from charities who are already using them well.
- A chatbot can help you engage a new demographic
As we mentioned, Messenger chatbots live on Facebook Messenger. That means anyone with a Facebook profile can talk to your bot. And since 2.6 billion people globally have a Facebook profile, you’ve got access to a huge audience around the world. (Don’t worry; you can make your chatbot multilingual)
But Messenger bots don’t show up in a user’s News Feed. They live in the messaging app. Messenger is a place where people are already chatting with family and friends regularly. That’s why it’s a great place for your organization to start conversations with them too. Plus, young people tend to be more active on Messenger than on Facebook itself: Half of Messenger users are between the ages of 25 and 44.
What does that mean for your nonprofit organization? It’s the opportunity not just to reach, but to meaningfully interact with a new demographic. A Messenger chatbot gives your charity the ability to personally engage with potential supporters, donors, and volunteers one by one—but automatically, and at scale.
Plus, with Messenger bots, you can take advantage of the Facebook ads ecosystem to bring prospective supporters to your bot.
- A click-to-Messenger ad can be targeted at any segment of Facebook users around the world, and will direct them right to an engaging interaction with your bot.
- A sponsored message will reengage past users who haven’t chatted with your bot in a while, to get them to participate in your cause again.
You can even set up your chatbot to automatically respond to comments on your Facebook page posts, so users can go from idly commenting to actively participating in a conversation about your mission.
- A chatbot can supercharge your fundraising efforts
A key aim of any nonprofit is to consistently attract new donors to win more donations. A chatbot can make this experience simpler for both you and your donors.
First, think about this: Why do most charities have a Department and/or Director of Major Gifts? Because, when there’s big money on the line, a friendly, engaging conversation is a lot more effective than a static email, or a paper donation form sent in the mail.
We’re not saying a chatbot can or should replace these employees. But they can help bring that power of conversation to your entire donor base. And we’re not saying you should dump all your other outreach methods in favor of a chatbot, either. Instead, we recommend you add chatbots to the mix so you can reach new potential donors on a new channel.
Here are a few ways a chatbot could assist with earning more funding from donors:
- Share stories and educational materials to get users interested in supporting the cause
- Notify users about a need for donations related to a cause they’ve shown interest in previously (your bot can give users tags to track data like this)
- Link to a donation page where users can give directly
- Share information or links related to merchandise that users can purchase to support the organization
- A chatbot can streamline the volunteer application process
Lots of nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers. Think about the ones who deliver food to isolated senior citizens, who give their love to pets at a shelter, or who spend time mentoring at-risk youth.
If your non-commercial organization depends on a constant influx of qualified, new volunteers, a chatbot can help! You can build a bot to:
- Share volunteer information 📄 Your bot can share links, images, videos, and other types of information to educate volunteers on what they’ll be doing and what the requirements are.
- Receive volunteer applications ✏️ Your bot can ask questions to gather contact information, learn about a prospect’s experience, and even accept their resume if needed. It can then automatically email this information to you, or send it instantly to a spreadsheet.
- Schedule interviews or shifts 🗓 You can integrate a scheduling tool so volunteers can book a slot for work, or for a preliminary screening.
- A chatbot can tell compelling stories
Storytelling is at the core of every not-for-profit organization. It’s a crucial way to form an emotional connection with people to win their support for your cause. Storytelling is also how you provide ROI for your donors: by showing them the impact their gift is having.
A chatbot is perfect for helping nonprofits tell these important stories in an impactful, interactive way. Think like this: Which scenario would make you more likely to donate to a cause:
- reading a story about the charity’s impact?
- or chatting back and forth with someone from that charity, who can tell its stories and answer your questions personally?
We can all agree that the second is more powerful. And now, providing that type of experience at scale is completely possible for your non-commercial organization.
Just like in a person-to-person conversation, a chatbot can personalize the stories based on the user’s preferences. It can ask them what they’re most interested in, and then share relevant content. You can let the user decide which stories they want to hear, making the storytelling experience that much more impactful.
Example. Let’s say a potential donor for an animal shelter has a soft spot for cats. After learning about this by asking questions, the shelter’s chatbot could deliver stories about the new cat wing of the building that they’re fundraising for. Or, it could share photos and stories about recently adopted cats. As a result, the user would be more likely to actively participate in the cause.
P.S. You can equip your bot with audio, video, images, and GIFs too to enrich the storytelling experience!
- A chatbot can automate routine tasks
Nonprofits are prime candidates for automation of tasks via Messenger chatbot. Automation lets you conserve time, energy, and money, so you can apply those valuable resources to areas of your organization that need them more.
The first task many organizations chose to automate is answering FAQs. Manually responding to the same questions over and over is a drain on resources. A chatbot can help! It can act as your first line of defense, providing answers and links to help resolve up to 80% of user queries. For those questions that need a human touch, your chatbot can pass the user to a human agent.
Setting up your bot to answer common questions is very easy. It’ll respond to any questions you give it the answers to. You could set up your bot to answer questions like:
- What do you do?
- How can I get involved?
- I know someone who needs your services. What should I do?
- Do you have any job openings?
Again, the questions your bot answers are completely customizable. Make a list of the FAQs your staff currently spends the most time answering, and equip your bot to handle them.
🙌 Bonus: Since a chatbot is available 24/7, users can get their questions resolved whenever is convenient for them. This instant assistance can also help you build trust with your audience.
- A chatbot is cost-effective and easy to build
As we mentioned, anyone can build a chatbot with a no-code platform like Chatfuel. And here’s another reason we’re the perfect fit for your nonprofit: We offer a special program for organizations like yours that are out there doing good in the world.
We also offer lots of resources to help you get started building your first bot. If you’re wondering, How to use chatbots to… turn to one of these for help:
- Short, guided video tutorials 🎥Our YouTube channel is full of them! Our Head of Video Andrew Demeter will walk you through key tasks, from building your first bot in three minutes to setting up a bot to automatically respond to Facebook post comments.
- Our blog 📝 The Chatfuel blog is packed with guides and advice to help you build an amazing bot, with posts on everything from setting up common features to using bots in times of crisis.
- Help documentation ⚙️ If you ever want to know how a specific chatbot tool or feature works, find a full write-up and step-by-step instructions in our help center.
- Expert support 🙋🏻 If you get stuck, you can always get help from fellow bot-builders in our Facebook community, or reach out to our stellar support team any time at [email protected].
- A chatbot can help your organization stand out
We’re on a mission to help all nonprofits discover the benefits of Messenger chatbots. Because for now, chatbots are drastically underutilized in the not-for-profit world. So while we work on getting more organizations on board, yours can take advantage of early-adopter perks. For people who are used to receiving only static emails or paper newsletters from their favorite charities, a chat with your bot would be a breath of fresh air.
Use a chatbot as your opportunity to stand out and get your audience’s attention. The personalized experience a bot can provide will make your users feel more involved and connected to your cause—and therefore more likely to support it. An interaction with a well-built bot is memorable, too. It can help your organization stick out in the minds of donors or volunteers when they’re ready to contribute their resources later.
- A chatbot can help you keep your community informed
Next time your not-for-profit organization has big news, have your chatbot share it! Your bot can send messages to keep your audience informed on what your charity is up to. You could use it to announce things like:
- an upcoming fundraising event, and to sell tickets.
- a new, urgent need for donors (like the Red Cross asking for donations to help with a natural disaster, for example.)
- completion of a major project, thanks to donor dollars or volunteer hours.
But you should know that Facebook has rules on when and how often your Messenger bot can send Recurring messages. One of the most important to remember is the 24-hour rule. It says you can only send users promotional content via bot within 24 hours of their last interaction with it. It’s to make sure users are in control of the relationship, and that organizations don’t spam anyone on Messenger.
Outside of the 24-hour window, you can reengage inactive users with a sponsored message. It’s a regular message from your chatbot, but you pay to deliver it outside that standard messaging window. Sponsored messages are typically very cost-effective and easy to set up. That makes them a great way to share important updates via chatbot.
- A chatbot can help those in need access your services
If your charity provides services to people (food, disaster relief, etc.), your chatbot can help them access the resources they need. A bot can:
- Educate users on a topic
- Accept applications
- Connect users to a human agent if necessary
- Gather data and feedback from beneficiaries about your services, to help you monitor and improve your program
- Collect testimonials, photos, or other content from users or volunteers for future marketing campaigns
Nonprofit chatbot examples
Now that you know what bots can do, let’s take a look at some real ones in action! Here are some nonprofit chatbot examples, all of which run on Chatfuel.
Greenpeace is a “global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.”
The key functions of the chatbot for Greenpeace Brasil are:
- directing aspiring volunteers to the right resources
- sending donors to a webpage where they can give a gift
- telling concerned citizens who they should contact to report an environmental complaint
Direct Relief is a “humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies — without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.”
The key functions of the chatbot for Direct Relief are:
- helping those in need access Direct Relief’s services
- sharing ways to get involved, including a link to donate, resources for fundraising, and a volunteer application
Check out our fullcase study on Direct Relief’s story.
Color of Change
Color of Change is the United States' largest online racial justice organization.
The key functions of the chatbot for Color of Change are:
- educating users on the most pressing issues facing people of color in the United States using storytelling
- gathering support and petition signatures for legislation that will help improve the lives of people of color in the US
RU OK Day
RU OK Day is an “Australian suicide-prevention charity that aims to start life-changing conversations.”
The key functions of the chatbot for RU OK Day are:
- educating users on how to check in on friends and family who may need help
- answering FAQs about what the organization does, how users can get involved, and where they can buy merchandise to support it
Changing the world, one bot at a time
Your nonprofit organization is already doing world-changing work. Use the power of Messenger chatbots to expand your impact even further. Sign up for a free Chatfuel account today. You’ll have access to our full suite of powerful features and a reach of 50 users. Once you validate your concept, upgrade to Pro for unlimited users, priority support, and other exclusive perks.
From all of us at Chatfuel, thank you for the important work you’re doing in the world—and happy botting!