Last month, Amazon announced it was launching donations via Alexa in the US. The race is now on to bring voice-activated donations to UK charity donors.

There are now 50 billion voice searches per month and this is expected to grow to 200 billion by 2020. Voice search is big. Amazon, Apple and Google are all fighting for this space with Amazon taking the market share so far with home devices. The
Amazon Echo was the most popular purchase on Amazon for Christmas 2017.

Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind tens of millions of devices like the Echo family of devices including Echo Show and Echo Spot. Alexa provides capabilities, or “skills”, that enable organisations to create a personalised experience.

Alexa skills are changing the way brands engage with consumers. There are now tens of thousands of skills from companies and a number of charities have either recently built skills or are considering building them this year.

So what are the opportunities for charities? Could you build an Alexa skill to help your service users? Could you provide useful content for users and then use that skill to fundraise?

Some of the skills recently launched by UK charities:

• Alcohol Tracker by Cancer Research UK

Designed to help you track your alcohol consumption and get information on the health benefits of cutting down.

• First Aid by British Red Cross
The skill aims to give you the skills and knowledge to feel confident helping someone in a first aid situation.

• The Wireless by Age UK
Music, stories, information and advice that celebrates later life in the UK

• Taking care of your breasts by Breast Cancer Care The tool guides you through the signs and symptoms of breast cancer to look for.

• BECCA Daily 5 by Breast Cancer Care

The BECCA Daily 5 gives five short snippets from blog posts, articles and tips to help you move forward after breast cancer

There are huge benefits for charities to create and promote their skills and this new way of giving. Imagine for example, if you are watching TV while cooking dinner and see an ad for a children’s charity, you can ask Alexa to donate for you there and then from your kitchen worktop. The donor’s details can be pre-populated on Amazon, which also speeds up the process. It’s a seamless experience and a great link between direct response advertising and the donation.

My agency Addition by WPN Chameleon are a technical partner with Amazon and my team have been testing building Alexa skills and integrating Amazon Pay for voice donations. We believe there is an opportunity for charities to use Alexa to their advantage and be an early adopter in what will be a soon a very competitive space.

We run workshops to help charities explore the opportunities of using Alexa for their organisation.

Like many innovations, voice donation may take some time to reach critical mass because a certain level of trust is required to persuade people to use it. But it’s an ideal way to appeal to a younger, tech-savvy donor base.

Slowly but surely, it seems voice donation is set to move from being a quiet revolution to the loudest noise charity innovation has heard in years.

Vicky Reeves is Digital Managing Director at Addition by WPN Chameleon who are leading the way in innovation in digital donations for charities.