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:
"Great overview of Chatbots for someone new to the topic. Good examples and how-tos. Excellent course." - Cathy Duvall, CEO/Founder, Democracy Ascent Advisors