We showcase a few of the inspiring charity chatbots that are opening up new avenues of service delivery and fundraising through the use of conversational artificial intelligence.
Charity chatbots can be super efficient extensions of staff and volunteers which are always on hand to help or tell a story.
While they’re already common in eommerce, there are plenty of charities using conversational interfaces or virtual assistants as an efficient way to deliver information 24-7 or to keep audiences engaged and interested in their cause by taking them on an emotional journey, freeing up precious time for charities to carry out core service delivery and fundraising activites that need the human touch.
Charity chatbots can be programmed to tell a story, answer questions, help direct queries to the right answer, or engage naturally with charitable audiences. We’ve found some great examples below.
Highly publicised since the charity chatbot’s creation in 2016, charity:water’s Walk with Yeshi takes potential donors through reflective storytelling over 2.5 hours (the length of the average walk for water for millions of people in Ethiopia). Yeshi chats with her audience using Facebook messenger using vivid photos, GIFs, audio, and messages, bringing to life the story of her daily journey to collect water. After showing Yeshi’s story, the charity and Lokai partnered together again to produce another immersive experience. With the purchase of Lokai products, a free cardboard VR headset was also sent out and when paired with the WITHIN app, so potential donors were able to experience the lives of those affected by water crises.
Built with chatbot tool Bot Platform, WaterAid’s Sellu chatbot is similar to Yeshi in that it uses a chatbot to tell a compelling story to potential supporters. Sellu, is a farmer, father, and carpenter who lives deep in the jungle in Sierra Leone. As part of the #Untapped appeal, the chatbot helps WaterAid’s audience connect with Sellu through photos, videos, GIFs and a 360-view tool. In addition to the journey, the charity chatbot also sends audiences clean water news and progress on Sellu’s journey. Dan Gray, Digital Engagement Manager at WaterAid said the chatbot allows WaterAid to have: “The ability to continuously interact with large cohorts of engaged digital users makes the chatbot a powerful tool for awareness, activation and retention all in one.”
Oriel Assistant is the hospital’s newest recruit, a chatbot which helps answer questions on the proposed new building facility, to allay concerns from service users. The chatbot is build on IBM Watson Assistant - an AI-as-a-service way for organisations to easily launch their own virtual assistants from the cloud. “Innovation is not just limited to our clinical environment; it is also about how we connect with our patients. That is why we have developed the Oriel Assistant, to provide round-the-clock answers to questions and information about how the proposal could affect our patients, staff and the wider public,” said David Probert, chief executive for Moorfields Eye Hospital.
What’s so impressive about The Climate Reality Project is that it was pulled off by a tiny charity with a one person communications team. They built the chatbot themselves on Facebook with the aim of populating their email list and educating people on the importance of taking action on climate change. As charity digital agency Lightful explains: "This is a really clever and simple way to grow your audience and just shows that chatbots are not just reserved for big charities."
Not built by a charity per se, Ally is a tool for housing associations, councils and housing-related charities to support vulnerable residents and guide them through the sometimes complicated processes involved in applying for housing or related benefits. Organisations can put the chatbot on their website, social media, or soon voice assistants like Alexa. The bot is an on-demand way for people to access the tailored information they need on housing, benefits, filling out forms and more, at any time of the day or night.