How it all started
Hi everyone, it's me, Raimonds, the founder and CEO of Funderful.
Three years ago, I created Funderful - to help bolster giving back to universities to fund life-changing programs, based on alumni donations. Because we cared for one fact - 53% of gifted, low-income students will never apply for college for lack of funding. Funderful's campaign websites worked great - gamifying the giving process to engage alumni. But there was one problem - it only worked if we could access the alumni.
Our success was heavily dependant on the school's email communication. But did you know that only 1 in 4 graduates open emails from their university?
If we only ever had the chance to reach 25% of alumni at any given moment, then we weren't accessing the potential of alumni giving.
Introducing a new communication channel - Facebook Messenger
We realized that the success of a fundraising campaign was a direct result of the ability to access and engage the alumni in the first place. We needed to build communication channels with alumni that they were comfortable using, naturally spending time in and are likely to open.
Source: The Next Generation of American Giving (2013), Blackbaud
For Gen Y and Z, those channels are messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram direct message and Snapchat.
As such, we've built a tool that lets you create guided conversations with Facebook Messenger chatbots. You get to automate communication, while letting the alumni guide the direction of the conversation, based on what they're interested in.
The chatbot has proven an open rate of 80% at universities that participated in our pilots, including Georgetown, Pomona, La Verne and others.
These results have lead to an increase in:
- Reunion and homecoming attendance
- Recruiting volunteers
- Giving day donations
- Senior class giving
What's best, is that 8/10 alumni have expressed that they prefer this sort of communication with universities, compared to other existing communication methods (phone calls, direct mail, even email).
We're excited about the new opportunities that this fresh technology provides. We've jumped, two-feet in to this endeavor, and see that this will be the future of Funderful.
How it works
The process is simple and fast-tracks the success of your fundraising campaign:
- Get access to the chatbot builder - Let us know you're interested, and we will set you up. You'll get access to your account's own chatbot builder. You can change, update or tweak the conversations at any time.
- Create your conversations and build audience - We'll help you create your first conversations with captivating content, as well as attract your alumni subscribers using highly targeted and cost effective Paid Social ads (did you know that our team has an accumulated experience of $10M+ paid social media ad spend?); and when you've got a grip on it, you can continue on your own.
- Send messages - Once alumni have subscribed to your service, begin sending out pre-built conversations to your audience at any time. Because the content is so condensed and in a conversational format, our partners are seeing 80% open rate and at least 5x better click through rates than emails.
- Reap the rewards - You are able to communicate with your alumni throughout the year. Messenger sets itself apart from email newsletters by allowing your recipients find their own path, and as a result, be directed to the relevant call to action for them - be it engaging your young alumni, attracting new donors, recruiting volunteers, or boosting your event attendance. All of that, based on the choices the alumni makes in the conversation.
Bonus: With your alumni finding their own path in the conversations in Messenger, instead of just reading an email, think of the things you will learn about your community - each response and action is recorded and can be synced with your database.
Keep in mind that the Funderful team is always available to support you. Just get in touch with us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore the opportunities
We've built a demo bot that lets you go through the process from the alumni's perspective. Take a look at how easy and seamless the conversation is.
*click “get started” to begin the chat.
If you're interested in applying this technology to your fundraising campaign, go ahead and schedule a call with us here: https://meetings.hubspot.com/walter12.
We're certain that this is the future of educational advancement, including alumni relations, marketing and fundraising. And our tests have supported this theory. Using the latest technologies to access the younger graduates is the most effective way to deliver a message these days.
So give our demo bot a try, and let us know what you think!