The Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation (NCCF) recently teamed up with FinChatBot and Ozow to develop a first-of-its-kind, end-to-end conversational-AI donation solution that allows benefactors to donate to the foundation in just a few seconds from their desktop or mobile phone.
The chatbot, known as NASH, is Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven and is available on the Nashua/NCCF website, and accessible via a QR code and URL across social media and other marketing channels. It allows prospective donors to choose whether they would like to donate money, goods, or their time by engaging with NASH and completing a few simple, user-friendly steps.
The idea for NASH was conceived by FinChatBot, a company focused on revolutionising the financial services industry by helping brands digitalise and guide Customer Experiences (CX) at scale, in October last year. The team was excited to help the NCCF raise funds and innovatively collect donations, especially considering the unpredicted effects of Covid-19 across charities and sponsors.
FinChatBot approached the NCCF with this innovative concept and organised a company-wide two-day Hackathon to develop the solution, in December 2020. A payment gateway was later integrated into the chatbot with the help of Ozow, an organisation that offers secure, integrated payment solutions to businesses.
NASH gives donors the option to either provide their details or remain anonymous, should they wish to donate money, time, or goods. For monetary donations, users are taken to a secure instant EFT payment portal, using their South African online banking profile. Those who do not have a banking profile can choose an option to donate later via a direct deposit to the NCCF’s bank account. NASH also enables benefactors to request an 18A tax certificate.
Business and individuals who want to donate goods to the foundation are prompted by NASH to choose from various categories such as “school supplies and clothing”, “stationery” or “nappies”, among others, to ensure that the items are suitable for children to use. Those wanting to donate their time need to provide their details and complete a verification process.
Helping the less fortunate
“Nashua is committed to providing support to those less fortunate and established the NCCF as part of its corporate social investment (CSI) efforts during 2006. The foundation currently provides approximately 600 000 meals per month to about 15 000 children,” says Nashua CEO Barry Venter.
“At Nashua we pride ourselves in being a brand that is actively involved in uplifting communities, especially when it comes to strengthening the youth of South Africa. We believe that when we work together, we can achieve more and can make an impactful difference not only to our partners but also to the children’s lives that we touch daily. We challenge you to work with us to make a positive difference in the communities and beyond, together we can achieve greater heights,” continues Venter.
“The development of NASH is an example of how technology can assist to further drive our efforts in raising funds and improving the lives of those in need. I am extremely grateful for the collaborative efforts of FinChatBot and Ozow in harnessing the power of technology to support our communities.”
Using technology for good
Antoine Paillusseau, CEO and Co-founder of FinChatBot, explains that the company believes in positively transforming people’s lives through intelligent digital solutions, with NASH being a good example of technology being used for good and for the benefit of those who are less fortunate.
“Technology has been adopted in many revenue-generating organisational aspects, so the use of technology to benefit the community is the next step in the adoption progression. Organisations should look at including technology in their CSI portfolios as they endeavour to transform other parts of their businesses,” he says.
Ozow CEO Thomas Pays says that since the company integrated a secure, non-governmental organisation payment gateway solution into the chatbot, there are no charges for payments processed on the system.
“Thus, the solution is a full end-to-end donation solution for charitable donations – a real first. Those who wish to donate can do so quickly and easily from any web-enable device anytime, anywhere,” he adds.
In addition to supplying meals to children, which include two meals a day and a school lunch pack per child, the NCCF also focuses on education. The foundation supplies school uniforms, school stationery, school bags, educational toys, tables, chairs and even wall charts to schools, including special needs schools, daycare centres and pre-schools.
“This unique chatbot solution comes at a time of great uncertainty, and shows that through collaboration, we can always find a way to make South Africa a better place for our future leaders,” says Helen Fraser, Operations Director at the NCCF.