AUGUST 29, 2021

How to initiate WhatsApp based program for your organisation

By Abhishek Sharma

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If you have been interacting with your beneficiaries to deliver programs, conduct surveys, and now want to adopt WhatsApp as the medium to do it more effectively at large scale, here are some ways that may help you to prepare and plan.

  1. Run a trial or pilot on your phones
    Changing the medium of your interactions, for example going from in-person education delivery to whatsapp-based model will surely require some change in terms of 
    1. how the program is delivered, 
    2. how people’s behaviour and responses change,
    3. how your messaging should be tweaked

These changes are quick to adapt to, once you’re familiar with the medium. Running your program on whatsapp, maybe using your own number will give you the necessary experience to think optimally about the solution.

For this, you may identify 30-50 beneficiaries and interact with them manually for a few days. Example: if it’s related to career counselling, you may share your number to the beneficiaries to send them the required information and ask their doubts.

  1. Visualise your impact and how you see it happening via WhatsApp

This is an obvious one, but visualizing the impact helps you achieve it better – imagine 1 lakh students after class 12th interacting with your organisation to receive valuable career guidance, or thousands of mothers learning about child care during and after child birth.

You may also think about the messages and the flow of information the beneficiaries would be consuming, and the time periods that the content will be accessible to them. You may make a note of the impact metrics you want to measure. 

  1. Get familiar with the ecosystem

Using WhatsApp at a small scale on your own phone with 30-50 contacts is different from interacting with 1000s of people on a daily basis. For the latter case you would want to explore systems like Glific that use WhatsApp business API and enable you to automate conversations. WhatsApp business API works in a very different way and you would want to get familiar with it, get to know more here such as types of messages and pricing (link). Glific works with Gupshup as the service provider for Whatsapp business API.

  1. Refer to programs by other organisations

Before you get started, you may want to look at how other organisations are running their programs on WhatsApp. Since Glific wants to build a strong community of NGOs who learn from each other. Our current NGO partners support this mission by contributing to the learning resources and openly sharing their case studies. You can check out some of them here.

We also often cover examples, best practices and everything you need to know about using WhatsApp for your programs on our webinars. Follow us here to stay connected.

  1. Align team, skills, be ready to start small and then scale

Many NGOs running their programs successfully at scale started with makeshift pilots to get a better grip of WhatsApp as a medium for program delivery. When they moved to Glific, they started small, iterated for effectiveness, and then scaled for long term impact. 

When getting started, you will need one person to set up the system, processes, and keep improving the program based on proogressive learning.

If you are keen to start your programs on WhatsApp, or want to explore your use case with us, you can write at info@glific.org

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