The new voice we should adopt

The new voice we should adopt

| 21 February 2018

Artificial intelligence is not just the future of fundraising, it’s happening right now – just ask Alexa.

At the IoF-hosted voice summit this month, Amazon highlighted how US charities are using voice technology to raise funds, and how UK charities are even using it to deliver services. In one use by the British Heart Foundation, Alexa talks users through skills and knowledge to help someone in a specified first aid situation.

Applications such as this prove the fundraising sector can, and should be at the forefront on such technology, said IoF Director of Partnerships and Innovation Adam Bryan.

“Voice technology can be a positive and productive partner in engagement and fundraising. We can get on the front foot and be early adopters,” Adam said.

Many of us have warmed to voice technology, so much so that 41% of users report feeling like they’re talking to a friend, a Google report found. And if you say ‘thank you’ when your voice device helps you, you’re not alone.

With 72% of voice assistant owners often using their device as part of their daily routines, according to the same Google study, there’s a huge opportunity for many more charities to tap into the tool.

It raises the question, how can we galvanise this to connect people with the causes they care about? Speakers at IoF Amazon Voice Summit indeed confirmed that the technology can enable us to better connect donors, beneficiaries and other stakeholders, and that it opens up a variety of interactive marketing opportunities.

Summit delegates were open to applying voice intelligence in their charities. Director of Operations at Diabetes UK, Colette Marshall, said she could see opportunities to deliver charitable missions in a very personal way.

Fellow delegate Martin Wilson, Innovation Scout at RNLI also felt inspired.

“We are now keen to start investigating how we can develop voice tools that will provide people with easier, faster and more natural connection to the RNLI and our services,” Martin said.

Voice mobile searches are predicted to account for more than 50% of mobile searches in the next few years – a dramatic rise from 20% at present. While the tool is popular for more trivial things like ordering pizza and finding your phone, its predicted growth presents so much opportunity for charities.


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