Like so much of retail and other business sectors, nonprofits and fundraising entities are focused on timely, seamless payments that users can easily make. Last year, Alexa and Google Assistant both introduced voice activated donations, allowing users to make donations with their virtual assistants by simply saying “Alexa, make a $10 donation to Red Cross.” Recently, Alexa added political donations to the mix.
Alexa Is Non-Partisan, But Users Can Donate To Their Favorite Candidates
On September 19th, Alexa allowed political candidates for the 2020 presidential election to sign up for Alexa’s voice-enabled donations. According to the Amazon blog, “Starting [in October], customers will be able to simply say, “Alexa, donate to [candidate name]” to contribute up to $200 to any participating candidate's campaign fundraising efforts. Alexa Political Contributions is powered by Amazon Pay, which uses the payment information associated with your Amazon account to complete the donation request.” When making donations on voice-assistants, users must have up-to-date Amazon account payment information in order to make the transactions as quick and easy as possible.
Alexa has also added new questions to help users get objective information about the election, building off the usage the voice assistant experienced during the 2018 midterms. “We federate across hundreds of information sources, and we collaborate with nonpartisan organizations to provide customers with information on polls, ballots, results and more,” Amazon further explained in their blog.
Building A Strong Donor Base Can Help Scale Donations For Candidates
Individual contributions have become a significant part of fundraising in recent elections, as populism becomes a central theme of campaigns on both sides and big donors are more heavily scrutinized. Voice-enabled donations may be another way for candidates to collect first-party data and proactively build lists of small-dollar donors that can often be tapped for donations multiple times. “If they’re giving in smaller amounts now, there’s more capacity for them to give later,” said Brendan Glavin, Senior Data Analyst for the Campaign Finance Institute.
As of September, candidates’ digital spend was far out-pacing their TV spend, with digital media advertising expenditure topping $70 million and TV at $11 million. Voice search is one more way candidates can easily entice audiences accustomed to easily buying from or interacting with technology. A recent State of the Campaign survey from political consulting firm Campaigns & Elections found that “40% of political professionals said they think voice search will be either very important or somewhat important for the future of campaigns.”