Online charity and the case for live chat

The average online charity faces a challenge when it comes to connecting to service users. Sometimes a telephone line isn’t private enough, and email is too slow.

There are many reasons that people might need to get in touch with your online charity. They might want to donate to your cause, report someone or something that needs your attention, or seek support and advice themselves. They might just need to talk to someone.

Could live chat software be the answer to these challenges?

Online charity chat benefits

Deploying live chat for online charity use offers benefits for both charity workers and the people they help.

•        Privacy

Chat provides a less conspicuous way for visitors to reach out to your online charity than afforded by phone or face-to-face support. In some cases, this enables people that can’t safely reach out via phone to get in touch.

Some online charities will also find that the people that need to get in touch need to talk about private or sensitive issues. In such cases, the privacy of chat makes it the perfect channel to lower the barrier to getting in touch.

•        Anonymity

With chat, visitors don’t have to give contact details or divulge their identity if they don’t want to. They can stay safe and anonymous behind their screen until they feel ready to identify themselves.

This anonymity is also great for the online charity visitors that want to report an incident where your help may be needed. These visitors can let you know their problem, without risking themselves or feeling exposed.

•        Real-time convenience

Sometimes, when people are reaching out to an online charity, it’s because they need help or advice urgently. A live chat channel answers this need for immediacy. People aren’t left waiting for an email — with chat, you’re there to answer when your visitors need you.

The immediacy of chat shows people that they aren’t alone in what they’re experiencing — you’re there to help on their terms.

•        Familiarity

When interacting with friends and family, people are used to using instant messaging. Chat, then, is a familiar channel for most. This means that you set off with a friendly, non-scary method of communication. In other words, a low-barrier option to get people contacting your online charity.

•        Accessibility

Live chat software will also bring a heightened level of accessibility to your support offering. It gives you a way to cater to people that cannot use verbal communication (deaf or mute service users), for example. It also provides a safe, quiet space for people who suffer mental health disorders such as anxiety.

Features supporting your effort

Beyond the general benefits of chat for online charities, live chat software comes with a host of features that support your offering. As an example, here a few examples of the WhosOn features most commonly useful for charities.

•        Live visitor tracking

Before engaging a visitor with chat, you can see the help, information or service the visitor came to find.  

•        Proactive chat invitations

An issue with any contact channel is that they’re largely reactive. You must wait for the visitor to reach out to you. With chat, you can set triggers to reach out to visitors on your website. So, chat provides a unique opportunity to catch visitors that need you but might be apprehensive to reach out themselves.

•        Skills-based chat routing

Once a visitor has decided to chat, skills-based chat routing makes sure that they connect with the correct person. It could be a trained specialist for a specific issue, or a volunteer to field an incident report, for instance.

•        Real-time chat translation

It doesn’t matter if your online charity serves a global audience or not, there’s a growing need for multilingual support. Some of your visitors may be more comfortable speaking in a foreign language. Real-time chat translation means that these people aren’t locked out of your service.

•        Chat history

For repeat visitors to your online charity, chat history gives agents a view of who they’re talking to. This can reduce and even prevent the need for someone to repeat their problem. (Something that could be potentially harmful or triggering.)

•        Chat mood

Chat mood detection gives you a real-time indicator of how the visitor feels as they connect with you. This facilitates the empathetic, human touch that tells people you’re listening, you understand, and you care.

•        File sharing

People contacting an online charity may need you to provide helpful resources, information and files. Using chat doesn’t make it harder to share these files — you can send the needed resources right there in the chat window.

•        Omnichannel calling

Omnichannel calling is a feature that lets you and your visitors seamlessly swap between chat and a phone call. In the context of an online charity, then, this gives you a way to escalate intensive chat sessions. It also allows you to build someone’s confidence through chat, then swap to a phone call without disruption.

•        Chat deletion

You can protect your visitor’s privacy by opting to permanently delete chats — and all the data that goes with them. So, your visitors can feel safe telling you the details they need to share.

Choosing WhosOn for your online charity

There’s a strong case for deploying chat as an online charity. With it, you can place care at the end of your keyboard.

As a final bonus, when you choose WhosOn chat for your online charity or not-for-profit, we automatically reduce the standard price by 10%.

So, why not work with a team with sector experience in deploying chat for online charity use? Get started now, with a 30-day free trial of WhosOn.

Useful links

Why a live chat line is a lifeline

You need to offer multilingual customer support. Here’s why.

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