When your colleagues and your board members are looking at your social proof that you’ve been able to hit your metrics, they’re happy to see the numbers rise; but, they don’t necessarily understand the persistent and often tedious work that goes into it. The numbers show you’re productive in raising brand awareness and engagement. However, productive is a relative term. And, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re focusing on the right things. Would you rather be productive at implementing higher level strategies or would you rather be productive in marking tasks off your to-do list that seem like busy-work, even though we all know they must be done? I, for one, prefer big thinking and making larger steps to move towards my greater goals, rather than feeling bogged down by the tiny tasks that steal my time and distract me. They give me the feeling that I’m doing something, but, honestly, they really just keep me busy and off-focus.
The one thing that means the most to most of us (besides our loved ones, of course), is time. We can’t get back our lost time and we need time to do what makes us feel alive. So, when it comes to finding ways to free up more time and allow us to focus on our higher priorities, I am all ears! What about you?
So what can non-profits do in order to free up time and let you focus on what’s most important to you?
Let me share with you technology that’s available to help you out!
Chat Bots are not just for business. Your non-profit can use them too! Using a Chat Bot, like Many Chat or Chatfuel, gives your organization an opportunity to have automated conversations through Artificial Intelligence. You can make them highly personal and sound like you – afterall, it is coming from you; you’re the one telling the application what to say! If you’ve used Siri or Google Now, you’re familiar with automated conversations. However, Siri and Google Now respond to voice. A Chat Bot responds to typed messages on Facebook and your website. Think about mobile-giving applications and text-to-give conversation sequences without the donation piece… This is all about quickly providing relevant information in an automated, but highly personal, manner.
What truly stokes me about Chat Bots is how it can improve donor relations and customer service. You’re able to make yourself available 24/7 to provide replies and helpful information – even if it’s a quick response letting someone know you’ll respond with more information soon. We all like to know that our question was received and somebody is working on it. A Chat Bot, in this instance, provides that immediate comfort and care.
We’ve been using automated messaging systems for years through our phones and devices. However, we haven’t had the kind of accessibility and flexibility as we do now through the Facebook Messenger application and website integration options. We’re fortunate to have applications available for us when we need an extra set of hands.
This is how a Chat Bot can be used:
- Integrate a Chat Bot on your website or Facebook Messenger
- Think about questions your community has when it comes to an upcoming event, volunteer opportunity, program or campaign.
- Build a conversational sequence that goes along with the event, volunteer opportunity, program or campaign
- Set up a Facebook Messenger ad with teaser information about the event, volunteer opportunity, program or campaign that leads to a Facebook page or landing page with more information
- Segment your audience through tagging
- Follow up with your audience like you would by email (open rates for Chat Bots are generally around 80%)
Providing information becomes much easier for both your organization and your community.
If your community member is on a mobile device and wishes to receive information about an event, volunteer opportunity, program or campaign, he or she will receive a notification from the Chat Bot either through your website or Facebook page.
As part of the conversation sequence, you can ask a question to start off with that has Yes or No answer options. Yes takes your community member in one direction, while No takes him or her on another path. Both options will further narrow down on your user’s needs until relevant information or a solution can be provided. As your community members click through the options, they can be tagged and segmented into specific audiences. This is particularly useful because you can follow-up with these segmented audiences. Maybe groups of people are asking the same question? You’ll have a group of people that you can email or call in order to further the conversation and provide the information they’re looking for. You can also use Chat Bots for Facebook groups in order to let everyone know about important updates. And, it’s a wonderful way to present surveys, since it’s user-friendly for your community and using an interface that’s easy and familiar.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what a Chat Bot can help you with. You can also use it to show off your programs and services, or receive requests for help. It can be used to grow your mailing list, take Mission registrations or event RSVPs, or even enable community members to search through your website, blog posts, or PDFs with ease from their mobile devices. Paired with a Facebook Ad or used on an optimized landing page, you’re able to increase your conversions and have more people take action on your Facebook page or website.
Your audience can stay on Facebook throughout the conversation if it’s through Facebook Messenger. There are lots of options available, especially when it comes to unsubscribing and push notification preferences. Zapier and IFTTT (If This, Then That) provide even more options for your Chat Bot , so you can integrate it with applications like MailChimp, for instance.
The key is to keep the sequence of messages conversational. That way, your Chat Bot sounds like you. It can be professional, casual, and helpful all at the same time.
Zapier and IFTTT Integrations
Chat Bots are just the beginning of the tools that your non-profit can take advantage of for community building and improving the organization’s fundraising experience, all while reducing busy work and tedious tasks.
It’s simple and easy to set up IFTTT automation applets. Explore the free IFTTT tools available and sync your accounts to get started using the recipes. You may find that there’s already an IFTTT applet available for you to use for the very time-consuming tasks you often find yourself doing.
Zapier handles more complex tasks and can handle matching up database fields between applications. For instance, donation transactions on your website can be synced to other applications, and trigger other events to occur – like email sequences, and alerts.
Some of the ways in which these tools can help your organization include:
- Collect donor information and sync CRM data
- Trigger autoresponder and follow-up email sequences
- Sync transactions and registrations with donor data
- Add and segment subscribers
- Organize event registration information
- Post blog posts (from any blog) across social media accounts
- Save content to editorial calendar
- Receive text message alerts for actions taken on website
- Receive reminders
- Organize and save contact information
- Create systems to post media on multiple platforms
- Schedule posts
- Save news clippings
- Sync meeting notes
- Promote blog posts
- Promote calendar events
- Post on multiple social media platforms
- Save files to DropBox
- Organize images and photos
Think about the work that you do on a daily basis and which are your tedious, repetitive tasks. What applications or software are you using in order to complete these tasks? The next step would be to search IFTTT and Zapier to see what options are available for you reduce your workflow. By saving time on repetitive tasks that can be automated, you can free up your time and energy to focus on problem-solving and larger projects.