Meet Your Next Cost-effective AI Tool – (Chat)bots

The age of automation is here – robots, chatbots, and cyborgs interface with organizations and humans in different ways. Has your nonprofit jumped on the bot bandwagon yet?

If not, read on and thank us later!


A recent article in Reader’s Digest talked about how an army of artificially intelligent caregivers serves at a senior home. Goldie Nejat, who chairs Canada Research’s Robots for Society U of T, is leading a project to build an array of socially assistive robots. The aim is to reduce the burden for seniors and their caregivers and extend support for everyday tasks. While it’s strange to watch people extending gratitude to robots, it’s also fascinating to see to what extent automation can make our lives easier.

Believe it or not, chatbot automation is transforming how we interact with each other and more so, how brands and businesses leverage it for good. Interestingly, around 50% of large companies are now considering more investment in chatbots. But the buzzwords like ‘automation’ and ‘artificial intelligence’, aren’t just for the for-profit sector anymore. They are becoming essential to charity organizations too. According to Beth Kanter, online chatbots are one-of-the top cost-effective AI tools that serve as a conversation interface between organizations and the public.

Why are social media bots good for you?

Climate Reality, an environmental advocacy nonprofit uses a Facebook chatbot to enhance supporter engagement in the fight against climate change. When you sign up, the bot sends out alerts featuring different ways that a user can help solve the climate crisis. At the same time, it also generates new donor leads.

Facebook chatbots are an excellent way for nonprofits to touch base with donors and answer their questions, comments, or requests. They are also one of the simplest ways to get started if your nonprofit hasn’t thought about exploring chatbots yet.

Propaganda of campaigns leads donors to take action and reach out to the organization with questions and queries. AI can take some of this burden off by handling first-line support (typically done by administrative staff) and addressing direct queries through bots. AI-based chatbots are now leveraged to accept donations too. Thanks to Charity Water who first started accepting donations through their Facebook chatbot and set an example for other nonprofits to follow suit.

72% of people who write to you on Twitter expect a response within an hour. Social media users expect speedy responses which are next to impossible without bots. Manual follow-ups are time-consuming, and unfortunately, by then, your donors might bounce off.

Moreover, if your nonprofit aims to create a strategy around millennial donors, then charity chatbots should be your top priority. According to Mobile Marketer, 40% of millennials engage with bots daily. Since millennials value their time more than anything else, they wouldn’t mind talking to a chatbot as long as their problem, query, or concern gets addressed faster.

To bot vs not to bot

Charity organizations focus to appeal to people’s feelings – caused by their needs and deeds. But at the same time, there are ongoing tasks of collecting donations, managing documentation, and tapping into donor engagement.

Before we jump the gun and let charity chatbots take over, nonprofit and social-change sectors must start a discussion on how the future of humanity relies on our ability to lead the bots and not the other way around.

Technology can add value to human interactions. If it creates value in a human-centered way, then changemakers will have more time to be people-centric.

AI-based Chatbots can mine data from ongoing conversations on social media or any digital property, for that matter, if it is programmed to do so.  Of course, this means that they can be an evil twin of digital conversations and exploited for manipulation.

These issues can be tackled through a nonprofit code of bot ethics or by putting out a non-manipulation pledge to ensure that we are in charge of the bots and not the other way round. Nonprofits can also go beyond immediate transactional need and offer followers the right to be forgotten and erase supporters’ digital footprint.

Is your nonprofit leveraging chatbots to accept donations, handle routine tasks, or for storytelling purposes? Let us know how chatbots add value to your nonprofit marketing strategy!

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