When writing our last article reflecting on the elusive topic of authentic voice in fundraising, our research threw up far more articles about “voice fundraising” than it did about style of language used in fundraising. We were rather taken aback at how many articles there are on a topic that didn't even exist a couple of years ago (by voice fundraising we mean using voice activated tools (such as smart speakers) as a fundraising channel).
So what is all the fuss about? Well…
Voice search is big and growing. By mid 2018 there were over 50 billion voice searches a month; expected to grow to 200 billion by 2020. Amazon (Alexa), Apple (Siri), Google and Microsoft (Cortana) are all vying for this space; Amazon appearing to be in the lead at the moment.
People identify with these channels more than you might think. According to a report from Google, 41% of users report feeling like they’re talking to a friend and 72% of voice assistant owners use their device as part of their daily routines. Remember, fundraising is about connecting with and sustaining authentic relationships with supporters.
In 2018 Amazon launched donations via Alexa in the US and the British Heart Foundation is now using this channel in the UK.
More and more charities are launching voice assistant skills including Alcohol Tracker by Cancer Research UK, First Aid by British Red Cross, The Wireless by Age UK and Taking care of your breasts by Breast Cancer Care
According to Google’s report, there are many more opportunity’s for charities to use these voice activated tools both in service delivery and fundraising.
Our conclusion, therefore, is that this is definitely an area for small and medium-sized charities to watch and take proactive steps to engage with. Inevitably the bigger charities will lead the way in developing new tools but, as with social media fundraising, it seems inevitable that before too long generic, universal access fundraising tools and channels will be developed by the big platforms.
How successful voice fundraising will eventually prove to be and how quickly it could grow is unknown. There have been many innovations in recent years including online, social media, text and contactless fundraising as well as innovations in fundraising through shopping, internet searching, recycling and much more. None have proved (yet) to be truly disruptive or paradigm shifting but it is early days.
Keep an eye out and be ready to get on board when it’s right for your charity with the resources you have at your disposal.