Home Fundraising How COVID-19 helped MSF enter the world of chatbots

How COVID-19 helped MSF enter the world of chatbots

How COVID-19 helped MSF enter the world of chatbots


Nick Scott, Head of Digital at MSF Spain, writes about how the organisation had nice success with the implementation of chatbots because the COVID-19 pandemic unfold the world over. Together with Toni Matas, director at Persualia, Nick spoke about their expertise at #FRO2021 from The Useful resource Alliance.

Hand holding a mobile cell phone displaying an image of a chatbot conversation

In March final 12 months, our world modified from in the future to the subsequent. At MSF Spain, we knew that the lives of our confined audiences had modified vastly. Their days lived on-line. Work on-line. College on-line. Even events on-line.

It was an opportunity for us to strive a brand new advertising and marketing technique: inbound advertising and marketing.

COVID-19 would require us to launch digital-only advertising and marketing campaigns. Most of those could be campaigns primarily based on interruption by advertisements, through which communication with a possible donor was fast, and the response we sought – a donation – was rapid. And we knew they’d work, as a result of emergency campaigns do work nicely on digital. There’s urgency, the difficulty is well-known, and the necessity is obvious.

However there was additionally a possibility to strive one thing totally different. For the primary time ever, the factor that almost all pursuits MSF – medical-humanitarian motion – was additionally the factor that a majority of individuals in Spain. These have been individuals who have been residing by a medical-humanitarian emergency in their very own nation, and these shared pursuits are the core of sturdy communication.

4 days after the primary lockdown was carried out, we acquired one thing surprising by e-mail. It was an inner doc, containing a sequence of ideas to assist workers handle their emotional and psychological well being within the face of the pandemic.

With the arrival of this doc, we noticed a singular alternative. We already knew that psychological well being was a key theme for our audiences. A sequence of movies we’d launched providing recommendation on psychological well being in a pandemic was getting attain we hardly ever noticed with our content material, being seen by tons of of hundreds of individuals. We noticed the chance to create a marketing campaign that doesn’t ask for one thing however quite provides  it. A marketing campaign that doesn’t chase, however attracts.

An opportunity to strive a brand new software: chatbots

We additionally had an opportunity to check a brand new sort of channel that we knew had the capability to be extremely partaking: chatbots. We have been already in negotiations with an company that specialised within the space of chatbots and conversational advertising and marketing and had been satisfied of their potential. Why chatbots?

  • They’re very versatile. You should use them to adapt to the wants and responses of every person with totally different journeys, and work with totally different goals with every chatbot (consciousness, engagement, conversion, and so forth.)
  • Customers perceive the chat format. Chatbots really feel much like extensively used instruments like WhatsApp and, not like with touchdown pages, customers solely need to course of one piece of knowledge at a time when partaking with them
  • They’re extremely optimisable. Each click on is an information level. It’s simple to grasp the place individuals are being engaged and the place they aren’t as a way to rapidly and simply adapt and alter each piece of textual content and each level of interplay
  • They’ll comprise many types of media and content material. Customers don’t want to go away the chatbot to expertise every thing from textual content and video to video games, knowledge seize, and extra
Introducing our chatbot for psychological well being in lockdown

We launched our chatbot firstly of April in 2020. The “bot” was truly one among our workforce members: Maria Cecilia from our psychological help unit – we even included her image to reassure customers and make the expertise really feel private. The content material she delivered was primarily based on MSF’s inner psychological well being help doc, however rewritten as a sequence of tales within the punchy conversational textual content fashion of chatbots. It supplied recommendation on eight potential types of emotional stress, with plenty of illustrations to interrupt up the textual content and produce it to life.

Moreover, we created a downloadable lockdown equipment that supplied recommendation and steerage primarily based on the information contained throughout the chatbot expertise, together with different assets. Customers who give their contact particulars to obtain the equipment are registered for a follow-up e-mail journey, which is the inbound advertising and marketing a part of the equation. Those that gave their particulars have been additionally given an summary of MSF’s operations and the prospect to make a direct distinction by donating to help the battle towards COVID-19.

We added the newly-created chatbot to our coronavirus net pages. As a consequence of their excessive rating in Google for the search phrases “epidemic” and “coronavirus”, these pages have been receiving hundreds of distinctive guests each day, making certain sturdy preliminary engagement with the chatbot. We additionally posted in regards to the bot on our social media channels, realizing we might anticipate large attain on any content material referring to psychological well being and COVID-19.

Along with e-mail advertising and marketing, we additionally developed Fb advertisements to advertise the chatbot and attain an viewers past our most conventional supporter base. Throughout the first three weeks, we achieved very promising outcomes:

  • Over 100,000 arrived on the level of first interplay
  • 71,000 noticed one of many emotional ideas
  • 7,700 leads (2,000 outdoors Spain)
  • 78 donors (€3,350 donated)
  • 33 common donors

One of many bot’s best successes was WhatsApp, the place it was shared tens of hundreds of instances. On one event, a message despatched by me and one other member of my workforce to high school mother and father teams on WhatsApp went around the globe; hundreds of individuals from Guatemala and Mexico have been reached by forwarded messages. Months later, we heard from our psychological help workforce that we’d had sufferers from a centre in Guatemala congratulate our medical doctors on the chatbot!

The chatbot has since been tailored into totally different languages and contexts. However, as lockdown has change into much less strict and the viewers utilizing the unique bot in Spanish has dropped, the price of advertisements has continued to rise. So, we’ve got continued to optimise and now must revisit our technique to plan how we are going to use the bot in an always-on means, in a time when COVID-19 won’t be such an element.

A primary (of many) forays into the world of chatbots

In our digital response to COVID-19, we didn’t cease at only one chatbot. Throughout 2020, we went a bit of chatbot-crazy, releasing a number of bots to fulfill quite a lot of totally different goals: peer-to-peer fundraising, engagement, recruitment, common donor acquisition, and extra. Throughout our discuss at #FRO2021, we talked delegates by the seven superpowers of chatbots and the way MSF Spain employed each to check this newest software in our arsenal.

In the course of the pandemic, nonprofits and charitable organisations around the globe have made large modifications to how they increase funds and have interaction with donors. Learn how UNICEF stepped up its donor retention efforts because the coronavirus took maintain.



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