Skip to main content

Raise your voice for a good cause and let Amazon’s Alexa do the rest

You can have Alexa help you pay off your credit card, so it only makes sense that you also use your favorite smart assistant spend your money for a good cause, too. That’s right, friends — Amazon has added a new skill for Alexa that will allow you to donate to a number of nonprofits with naught but your voice. So if writing a check is too hard or going to a charity’s website is too time-consuming, fret not — being a good Samaritan is now as easy as raising your voice.

There’s nothing particularly life-changing about the way in which the skill works. As you might suspect, in order to get Alexa to donate to the charity of your choice, you’ll say something like, “Alexa, donate $50 to National Public Radio.” Amazon’s smart assistant will then deduct the commanded amount from your linked account, and you’ll go about the rest of your day with a little bounce in your step. Of course,

Just in time to be too late for your 2017 taxes, Amazon’s added a new skill for Alexa that lets users donate with their voice. The command is pretty much as you’d expect — say, “Alexa, donate $20 to the American Cancer Society” and the smart assistant will pull that money from your associated account. In order to ensure that you did, in fact, want to make a donation, Alexa will use a four-digit voice confirmation code. Once a donation has been processed, Amazon will send you an email confirmation, and you’ll also be able to track that information at Amazon Pay.

There are also a number of other security measures in place. For example, Amazon assures its users that it does “not share your payment method information with merchants or charitable organizations that accept Amazon Pay on their websites.” And while your name, email, and address may be given to the nonprofit to which you donate, that organization will not have any access to your credit card information.

Quite a few nonprofits are already on Amazon’s compatible list of organizations, including the ASPCA, the American Cancer Society, and the Tor Project. You can even choose to donate to an institution of higher learning like Bowdoin College. And if you’re unsure of what deserving charity you’d like to help, you can just say, “Alexa, make a donation,” and she’ll help you select a nonprofit.

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Amazon Alexa: A complete guide to using the voice assistant
Amazon Echo Show 10 angled on desk.

By now, you know Alexa as the ubiquitous digital assistant attached to Amazon’s lineup of smart speakers, screens, and home products. You’ve no doubt heard the name plenty, but when it comes to what exactly it can do in your home, that may be more of a mystery. If you’re ready to enter the world of home automation, save time, and streamline some of your day-to-day tasks, let’s get to know how to use Alexa.
What is Alexa?
Alexa is a virtual assistant created by Amazon. Put simply, Alexa is an artificial intelligence (A.I.) service that you can interact with by using various devices or through an app on your phone.
How can I access Alexa?
Alexa can be found on devices like Amazon’s Echo line of speakers and their video screen version, the Echo Show. Amazon is also constantly expanding its line of devices. For example, Echo Auto brings Alexa to your car, Echo Frames are built into glasses, and there are also Echo Buds earbuds.

There are also non-Amazon devices that work with Alexa. Devices like the Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat, iHome’s AVS16 Alarm Clock, LG’s Smart Instaview Refrigerator, and the Sonos One speaker are all Alexa-enabled. You can also read about the best Alexa-enabled devices here.

Read more
Everything new announced at Amazon Alexa Live 2021
amazon echo 4th gen review  9 of 14

Amazon Alexa is one of today's go-to voice assistants. Available on hundreds of devices, from smart speakers to displays and thermostats, Alexa grows more popular every day, with over 100 million device owners and 900,000 registered developers producing Alexa-powered products. Speaking of the latter, Alexa Live 2021 has finally arrived. This year's free virtual symposium is a great place to learn about all of the new developer tools and services that Alexa will be capable of in the near future. Here's everything announced at this year's event.
A host of new and updated developer tools
Perhaps the biggest emphasis of Amazon Alexa Live is the ways in which developers will be able to implement new and existing Alexa tools to make smart products more intuitive and customizable.

One advent is a tool called APL (Alexa Presentation Language) Widgets. For the first time, developers will have the ability to create visual companion widgets to accompany certain skills on devices like the Echo Show, Fire TV, Fire tablets, as well as other devices. These include things like animations, graphics, pictures, slideshows, and video files. Amazon further outlines this rollout with an example.

Read more
7 things we wish Amazon Alexa could do
Amazon Echo 4th Gen smart speaker on a table.

Launched in 2013, Amazon Alexa quickly became one of the most recognizable voice assistants for smart homes the world over. It's built into the core engineering of many popular Amazon products, like the Echo and Echo Show, along with industry-leading third-party hardware from the likes of Sonos, Ecobee, FitBit, and more. First- or third-party, one thing is for sure: Alexa continues to dominate the digital land of savvy voice assistants.

With just a wake word and a follow-up command, Alexa can perform a number of impressive feats, such as powering on/off your smart lights, streaming your favorite music, checking the news, searching the web, setting timers and reminders, and more. With seemingly no shortage of capabilities, it's hard to imagine Alexa not being able to do something. But, like anything tech, there's always room for additions and modifications.

Read more