However, as with businesses across all sectors, nonprofits are not impervious to shifts in the way people communicate.
In order to “stay relevant,” they have to modernize.“We get people who are talking about what happened to them for the first time, and if it wasn't for an online service like this, they wouldn't have reached out in another way,” said Jennifer Marsh, RAINN’s vice president of victims services.
Earlier this year, RAINN added a Spanish-language service, and between the two, RAINN conducts an average of 113 sessions a day.
RAINN also operates the Department of Defense Safe Helpline services through a contract with the agency’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) and has partnered with the Peace Corps to provide chat-based support to its volunteers.
I probably would not have gone to RAINN if it did not have an online chat.”In addition to appealing to a younger demographic, online hotlines also enable conversations that can’t be overheard, which is critical when immediate safety is at risk.
Brian Pinero is the Chief Programs Officer at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which launched an online chat service called The Hotline in 2013.
While it might seem that online chats would be more “scalable” than phone hotlines, this is not the case, at least not yet.