Organizing groups are starting to use Messenger and SMS-based chatbots to dramatically improve their list-building, supporter activation, fundraising and get-out-the vote efforts.
Movimiento Cosecha is using Messenger chatbots to activate and absorb people into organizing, with extraordinary levels of engagement. PushBlack used a chatbot to drive tens of millions of get-out-the-vote messages during the 2018 elections. The Sierra Club reduced their costs per acquisitions by 41% and increased their donations per subscriber by more than 500% through a chatbot.
1.3 billion people use Messenger every month. (It’s the third most popular app after Facebook and Youtube.) Open rates are up to 88% and click through rates up to 56% on large-scale broadcast messages. Organizing groups are reporting action and donation rates 500% higher than email. Meanwhile platform cost is comparable to email.
We also cover use cases for using voice & SMS-based chatbots for political campaigns & advocacy groups. Many groups are using peer-2-peer texting, but the challenge is to engage and activate without having to rely completely on volunteers, and to build targeted phone lists to text to. SMS-based chatbots can help. Case studies will include chatbots to arrange rides to the polls, find the nearest clinic, learn what benefits (food stamps, childcare etc) you might be eligible for, and to organize gig workers.
This is a big new way to reach people and drive action, and with 300,000 chatbots out there already on Messenger alone, it’s time organizing groups checked it out.
SteveNagai-Ma, SMT Staff Partner, is a digital innovator and long-time organizer. Soon after Facebook opened their Messenger platform to chatbots in 2016, Steve took a deep dive into how to use chatbots for social change and advised on a number of significant chatbot projects that now engage millions of people.
Christine Miranda, SMT Staff Partner, has a diverse background in Latinx community organizing. She is an organizer with Cosecha, a decentralized movement fighting for permanent protection for all undocumented immigrants. Christine and the Cosecha team are seeing extraordinary engagement levels using Messenger and the chatbots they’ve created.
Deepak Puri is co-founder of the non-profit Democracy Labs which expedites the flow of innovative new apps to progressive causes and campaigns. He is an engineer, holds three software patents and has over fifteen years experience at Netscape, Oracle and VMware. Deepak works pro bono with progressive groups to understand their needs; find and apply the best existing apps and then freely share the results through blogs, online training and free workshops. DemLabs doesn’t develop nor sell software, but instead evangelizes free/low-cost apps.
Comments from registrants:
"I was surprised to learn how successful chatbots were for the movements/organizations that were highlighted in the webinar. However, once I saw how interactive chatbots are and how much can be done with them, it made sense. I think this webinar is great for organizations &/or organizers that are working on campaigns where they want to reach a lot of people, but maybe do not have the capacity to connect with each individual on as personal of a level as they would like to. Chatbots help with that initial outreach and continuous points of contact to remain engaged with people." - Kimberly Acosta, CTCORE-Organize Now!
"Great overview of Chatbots for someone new to the topic. Good examples and how-tos. Excellent course." - Cathy Duvall, CEO/Founder, Democracy Ascent Advisors
"Super useful, informative. Gave great insight into chatbots. I would take the full course if I had more time (pre-election season)." - James Hutt, Campaign Coordinator, Canadian Union of Postal Workers
"It was very informative, especially for someone who came in knowing nothing about chatbots, other than that they were a thing. Seeing the tools in action was great, and the presenters made it easy to understand how we might use chatbots at our organization." - Michael Kelly, Director of Communications, Clean Water Action
"Great basics and best practices on the emerging tool of chatbots!" - Dylan Easterday, Distributed Volunteer Director, Working Families Party
"Well put together." - Ashley Nkadi, Communications Manager, BYP100
"Messenger Chatbots are fascinating! I learned so much about how chatbots can be utilized to deepen engagement with your subscribers." - Stuart McIntyre
Micky is a Black queer and genderqueer visual artist and organizer who has called Richmond, Virginia home for over 20 years. He’s a mostly self-taught designer who has developed his design work with a range of organizing groups. In his current role at Southerners on New Ground (SONG) Micky does both design and larger organizational communications. He joined SONG as a member in 2014, then joined staff to lead campaign work around police accountability and continue to build SONG’s base. Through his work with SONG, the Virginia Anti-Violence Project and the LGBT youth center Side by Side, Micky brings in his experiences as a Black queer and trans organizer. He loves art, media, stand up comedy and dreaming about building a safer, beautiful, more affirming world for trans and queer people of color to not just survive in, but thrive in.