Charities, innovation, chatbots

Image source: theguardian.com (Westend61/Getty Images)

The charity sector, like every other sector, is facing a digital transformation. Our online ecosystem has disintegrated into what a former Facebook executive called “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops”. Worse, this post-truth world threatens the fabric of civil society. Fake news has affected elections, referendums and continues to polarise people around the world.

Connectivity makes the extremes in society more visible. But it can also amplify the good work of charities. The latest technology fads can be a distraction: organisations trying to experiment with disruptive technologies such as bitcoin, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and more will soon find themselves overwhelmed. But frugal innovation and experimentation can be beneficial. Charities of all sizes need a robust digital strategy that covers the basics and should be open to trying new tools to promote social change.

Video continues to dominate social media

Social media platforms have become mainstream communications channels, but many charities face enormous challenges using them strategically. According to the Global NGO Tech Report, only 32% of non-profit organisations have a written social media strategy.

On Facebook, the sector has bemoaned the death of organic reach – what some have dubbed as the “reachpocalypse”. According to social media experts, the organic reach of some pages on Facebook has been steadily declining from 100% in 2012, to an average of 1-6% two years later. This means that your charity’s posts are less likely to show up in your followers’ newsfeeds naturally – and many organisations are subsequently investing more money into social to boost their reach.

Video content can help with visibility in the Facebook newsfeed, as it is prioritised by Facebook’s algorithm. Charities should upload videos directly onto Facebook, and add videos to paid social activity, as well as doing regular Facebook Live broadcasts to engage supporters and fundraise.

These videos do not have to be expensive to produce. It is more important to be authentic and engaging. The Community Action Partnership, a small US charity, posted a humorous video of its executive director lip-syncing to promote its annual fundraiser. The video, created on an iPhone, went viral with over 10m views.

Messaging and chatbots

Technology such as Facebook messenger chatbots can help your organisation to interact with supporters. Facebook messenger has recently reached more than one billion users worldwide, meaning that more people will be using it to contact charities with questions and comments at all hours of the day. Basic bots can answer simple questions, while more sophisticated programs can help educate supporters about a charity’s issues and services.

This includes very small organisations. The good news is that a simple Facebook bot can be designed at little cost using the growing number of bot-authoring platforms. Climate Reality did this by designing a Facebook chatbot to build its action alert email list.

Bots can provide a new channel to engage people who are hard to reach. Humanitarian organisations are researching how the use of messaging and bots can help refugees or those directly affected by natural disasters. Unicef created its own bot, U-Report, for Facebook and Twitter to engage young people. The bot polls its followers (U-reporters) on a range of topics and uses the data to influence public policy. In Liberia, for example, the bot asked 13,000 young people if their school teachers were exchanging grades for sex. Some 86% said yes, uncovering a widespread problem and prompting Liberia’s education minister to work with Unicef to tackle it.

Engaging mobile

With 90% of media interactions taking place via a screen, and 38% taking place on a smartphone, there is no longer an excuse for charity websites not to be optimised for mobile devices. But many lag behind. According to Reason Digital, charities missed out on an estimated £1.5bn of donations last year due to high bounce rates on mobile devices. People using mobile devices to view a charity website are more likely to leave after visiting one page, compared to users viewing from a desktop.

That translates to a significant loss in donations. It is not just about making websites in general (and fundraising pages in particular) readable on smaller screens, but about investing in a design that makes sense on all screens. It is hard enough to get donors onto our websites. Let’s not make it more difficult for them.

Article Source: https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2018/jan/10/post-truth-world-charities-connectivity-social-good-media-chatbots-mobile-optimisation

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Happy New Year

The confetti is cleared, the fireworks have made their big bang and the celebration of entering a new year has quieted down. Everyone is back to the daily grind, but is your grind the same as it was on December 31?

We know that last year had its share of highs and lows, bumps, bruises, and victories. Our lives are colorful and the rollercoaster of life is sure to be an adventure this year as it was in the past. Yet, we continue to remain optimistic, prayerful, empowered, and encouraged. There are going to be those days where we celebrate some incredible moments with joy, and then there will be those moments that we will weep with sadness.

Just remember as long as you can breathe, you have life. Keep breathing! Keep living!

From Behind the Pen

New Year's Resolutions, Happy New Year

What if we stop waiting to make a list of New Year’s resolutions on December 31 or January 1, and instead throughout the year make doable, bite-sized achievable goals whose success you can celebrate each day? Let’s face it, many of us are inclined to make a list of goals to stick on our list of New Year’s resolutions and just a few days into the new year, we fall off of the horse. Should we change our tactics? What if?

#WhatIfWednesday

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Merry Christmas, Holidays

There are so many memories woven into the fabric of the holidays. While we can’t change the past or do anything about the future, we can only bask in the essence of this moment.

So on that note, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!

Great reflections!

From Behind the Pen

Holy Night, Christmas, Savior is Born, Wise Men

What if people truly observed and celebrated what they exclaim the spirit of Christmas is all about? Would wars cease and there be peace? Would there be more love instead of hate? Would we really feel better to give more than we receive? What if?

#WhatIfWednesday

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Gratitude, Happy Thanksgiving Day

There are so many heartfelt sentiments we can say about a special day like today. As we wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, however, we invite you to show your gratitude better than you simply utter the customary greetings for today’s holiday. You can’t imagine just how much your hearts will be stuffed with extreme warmth and love!

Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone!

 

The Attitude of Gratitude

Posted: November 19, 2017 in Reflections
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Great thoughts of gratitude!

From Behind the Pen

gratitude, thanksgiving, peace, grateful

This week in our country and many parts of the world, we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Throughout the week I will be posting a few things that warrant an attitude of gratitude, regardless of the day or occasion. Each morning, no matter how I feel, I wake up thanking God for witnessing a new day I will never experience again. To kick off this week and stay on target with what Thanksgiving means to me, I am dusting off my poem “Celebrating the Shades of Thanksgiving” to get this week’s gratitude meter rolling. Cheers!

Celebrating the Shades of Thanksgiving

In the spirit of giving thanks
reflect on your abundant blessings
remember the horn of plenty
overflowing with the fruitfulness of love.

The robust bouquet of Autumn’s hue
like a kaleidoscope of human diversity
with hands joined, eyes closed and heads bowed
our fundamental strength is embracing unity.

Gratefulness is the essence…

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