16 September 2015
Live Chat Software for Charities – Reaching out to those who need help
Charities are using Live chat software to help people in difficult situations, by offering secure advisory services through live chat rather than normal means of communication such as phone or email.
Our live chat software helps you reach out to people who need your help, in a secure manner
Help matters when it is available to the right people at the right time, this is what live chat software enables you to do in the most secure manner. Just because your offering help and assistance to people in distress, doesn’t mean that the information about the person you are trying to help should be any less secure. In order to protect confidential data from falling into wrong hands, you need a completely confidential interface that gives the freedom to interact with people you would like to help seamlessly as well as keep every bit of information exchanged totally secure.
Over the past few years we have seen an increase in more and more charitable organisations leveraging the power of live chat to provide 24 x 7 assistance to people in need. In fact, Click4Assistance has a long list of customers and organisations involved in charitable work, these include:
- OCD Action, CE Mind – Mental Health
- Beat, BPAS, MS - UK – Physical Health
- Priory Group – Rehabilitation
- Smart CJs, Solve IT, Community for Recovery – Abuse
- Home Heat Helpline (help with energy bills) – Financial Advice
- The Children’s Society – Children
- Citizen Advice Bureau (Fife, Peterborough, Buckinghamshire, Medway etc.), Harrow Advice Together – Multiple Areas
- Bolton at Home, Nottingham Community – Housing Associations
Why it makes sense for charitable organisations to use live chat on their websites?
It doesn’t just make economic sense to add live chat for the charitable organisations (although it can be a big reason considering the perpetual resource crunch that these not-for-profit organisations constantly face), it also makes sense in terms of convenience, speed, data security and better utilisation of existing resources.
Take for example a charitable organisation providing help to victims of domestic abuse. For these organisations it is extremely critical that the help being provided from their side is not just immediately available, but is also available round-the-clock. Since one person can manage practically an unlimited number of chats at a time, it rarely happens that a distress call is missed, or the victim is left waiting in a queue. If your organisation does not have multiple helpline numbers and a costly telephone system there is a great chance that people are put on hold during their moment of need. After all, only one advisor can just talk to a single victim of abuse at a time when using the telephone.
Being a live chat service provider our system allows you to manage multiple chats with multiple people at the same time; you are not constrained by this type of communication technology. This means that you can have multiple chat windows open on your PC – if you have a large screen, you can arrange multiple chat windows right in front of you so that every conversation has your complete attention..
Sometimes highly confidential bits of information are exchanged between the people you are trying to help and your organisation. This might be highly sensitive data and under no condition it should fall into the wrong hands and expose a person you are trying to help to danger. All chat information uses 256-bit encryption technology that allows you to exchange messages in a highly secure environment. You can also exchange confidential documents, images and password-protected URLs.
Adding live chat provides people a means of communication they prefer
You can always debate whether adding live chat to your website is an efficient means of communication or not (depends on your personal preference) but an indisputable fact is that instant chat is becoming widely used across a number of organisations including charities. Although conventionally instant messaging shouldn’t be compared with live chat, but basic, underlying characteristic is the same – it provides you an instant response. Besides, when you call someone, it becomes your dominant activity. This is not the case when you use chat to communicate with people. You can post a message and then get back to whatever you are doing, and when you hear the notification sound, you can check the response, post your response, and then again, get back to your normal duties. This makes chatting extremely convenient and efficient.
Click4Assistance live chat is available even on mobile devices so a person who needs help doesn’t necessarily have to do log onto a computer or a laptop. He or she can remain invisible as well as anonymous while having a confidential conversation with you, all the is required is an Internet connection.
Integration with social networking platforms is also a great thing that helps people to quickly get in touch with you in case they don’t want to create a dedicated login just to have a chat with you (even if that chat might be a life-altering event – this is how human psychology often works). They can use their existing social networking account in order to log into your chat system and start conversing with you. In fact most of the people are already logged in from their personal devices these days.
Most charity organisations prefer to use live chat also because people don’t require a 3rd party software or even a browser add-on in order to initiate a chat conversation.
“Live chat always saves the day,” says Christopher (name changed to protect the identity).
“I work in an organisation that provides support to victims of domestic abuse, mostly among migrant communities. These victims are not comfortable talking in English but somehow they can manage to convey their problems using text messaging. Besides, not everybody is comfortable talking even if he or she is comfortable with the language. We have observed that more people are forthcoming with their problems using live chat compared to telephone. Although we get plenty of help requests via email, after a while it becomes humanly impossible for us to attend to each and every email on time – although we do reply to each and every email. Live chat on the other hand keeps us available 24 x 7. The number of people contacting us for help has doubled in the past 5 months ever since we installed live chat on our website.”
“Almost all of the students who contact us want to remain anonymous,” says Michelle who works in an organisation that provides counselling to students who are being bullied at school.
“They don’t even want to tell their parents in many cases. Ever since we installed live chat on our website, the number of students contacting us for help has tripled simply because it is very easy to use live chat because every kid has access to a computer or a laptop these days. Every kid does texting these days. It’s very easy to contact one of our counsellors without having to speak. A student can just click the chat icon on our website (irrespective of whether he or she is using a computer or a laptop or a mobile phone), log in as an anonymous user and start chatting. Since our live chat program facilitates multiple chat windows at the same time, one counsellor can provide help to multiple students in distress at the same time. Previously, when we didn’t have a live chat installed there used to be lots of problems. Students would call in the hour of need and they wouldn’t get through and after a few tries, they would give up, endangering themselves doing things that otherwise they wouldn’t have done had they been able to talk to one of our counsellors. This is no longer the case. Almost 99% of the times, students trying to contact us via live chat, are able to do so and get the much-needed help”.
Manage a large team of volunteers working for your charitable organisation
We are proud to say that the UK is among the countries with the highest number of volunteers working for not-for-profit and charitable organisations, not just working within the UK but also doing great service in other underprivileged regions of the world. How do organisations manage such large teams of volunteers without creating chaotic situations? One thing is that most of the volunteer teams are self-driven so they don’t need much supervision and motivation. But still, in large organisations, organising DOES matter, and this is where live chat can play an invaluable part.
As mentioned above, everybody uses instant messaging these days and when we say everybody, we also include a large number of volunteers working for different charitable organisations. Since an unlimited number of chats can be carried out a large number of volunteers can stay connected with each other as well as with their supervisors without clogging up the telephone lines. In fact, a great thing about live chat is, in cases of emergencies, people can carry on chatting with each other and coordinating with each other while involved in rescue and help activities.
Matthew works with a small charity organisation that closely works with Red Cross in times of big disasters like earthquakes and floods. While his charity doesn’t work at the ground level, it helps organisations like Red Cross coordinate between various volunteer groups. “There was a big earthquake in Nepal recently and thousands of volunteers were needed by various organisations involved in rescue and relief operations,” explains Matthew.
“Without proper supervision, most of the volunteers feel lost. Just like volunteers take care of the disaster victims, there has to be a mechanism to take care of the needs of the volunteers too. This is where our organisation pitches in. Using state-of-the-art tools like live chat we can stay connected with the nodal agencies as well as individual volunteers (whenever possible) and coordinate between different teams so that the rescue operations can go on smoothly without endangering our volunteers. The volunteers can stay logged in from their mobile devices and they can contact the right departments and agencies with just a few taps. They can even create direct icons that can immediately initiate a chat session in case they need to contact someone important.”
Why real-time live chat is cost-effective way for charity organisations to communicate
In one way or another, there is always a resource crunch among charity organisations. They constantly have to come up with better ways to manage their resources and save on money as well as human resource. Most of the charity organisations heavily depend on their ability to communicate constantly. Whether they are communicating with their team of volunteers and organisations or with people who are trying to seek help from them, they needed communication channels working smoothly all the time. Even small gaps can lead to big disasters. In many ways real-time live chat can prove to be a highly efficient and cost-effective tool.
In the times of exigencies it is not possible to attend to multiple phone calls without installing new telephone lines, new instruments and hiring new people (or recruiting new volunteers). On the other hand, this ability is inbuilt in Click4Assistance live chat software. You can open practically an unlimited number of chat windows (uk-businesses-are-generating-more-leads-using-live-chat-software )at the same time. The number of people with whom you can chat simultaneously depends on your ability to carry out multiple conversations at the same time rather than the capacity of the live chat software (which is, as mentioned above, unlimited).
Another benefit of using live chat is that our packages are completely scalable. The state of emergency doesn’t exist all the time. Scaling our live chat application up or down is just a matter of a few clicks. Suppose you don’t need multiple departments for your charitable organisation. There is no need to go for a higher version at the moment. Suddenly an unforeseen event takes place and you need to create multiple departments to handle multiple facets of the situation. You can upgrade your account within a few minutes and then create multiple departments from within your existing chat admin interface.
Your volunteers keep on changing? This is where chat routing can help you. Multiple volunteers can carry out a single thread without feeling lost because listing ongoing chats can be easily routed to different volunteers so that no matter who takes care of the ongoing chat, he or she can easily make sense of what is going on.
Encourage more people to donate by adding live chat on your website.
As a charity organisation, donations play a big part in your day-to-day as well as long-term operations. When people visit your website, just as e-commerce websites want more people to buy from them, you want people to donate. Although unlike e-commerce websites you are not aggressively trying to snatch donators from other charity organisations, you would appreciate more and more people donating on your website and for this, you need to reach out to them and you need to be there for them in case they need more information about your charity organisation. By installing live chat on your website, you set up a vibrant communication channel that facilitates two-way dialogue between you and prospective donators.
Not everybody has time (especially people who are not interested in volunteering but would like to contribute monetarily) to go through all the pages and blog posts that may explain why they should donate to your charity organisation. They would rather talk to someone. Not everybody is comfortable talking on the phone – they might not want to call or they might be browsing your website in the middle of the night, or from another time zone and consequently, they are not sure whether someone at your side is going to pick up the phone or not – whatever is the reason, people these days don’t like to call. Chatting on the other hand, is a different issue. They will click or tap your chat button and depending on whether you are off-line or online, they will either leave a message for you or simply have a conversation with you. Whether they can directly talk to you or leave a message for you, it creates an opportunity for you to get them interested in donating to your charity organisation. Rather than leaving everything on a static website and losing practically unlimited opportunities to get more donations for your organisation you can proactively approach your visitors and from them to get financially or physically involved with your activities.
Using analytics tools that come with our live chat software, you can track the movements of visitors on your website and this gives you plenty of information about which sections of the website people browse the most and where you need to pitch in in order to stop people from leaving your website without committing themselves. By creating custom welcome screens that are automatically triggered either immediately or after a person has spent a few seconds on your website you can prompt people to have a chat with you and know more about the wonderful work you are doing, and can do provided more people donate.
Whether you’re running a for-profit or not-for-profit organisation, these days you constantly face problems because the Internet has made it possible for almost all organisations to reach out to prospective volunteers and donators. You need to constantly engage them. You need to encourage them to get involved with you. You need to convey to them the noble work that you are doing. The best way of doing that is via a live chat.