UK’s leading charities to benefit from donations via smart speaker
Innovate UK funding sees Say It Now team up with Global’s DAX to enable people to donate to chosen charity with a simple Alexa command
NSPCC, RNIB, Crisis, Macmillan Cancer Support and Global’s Make Some Noise sign up
DAX on board as official media partner
Some of the UK’s leading charities are set to benefit from a new partnership that enables donors to pledge money quickly, securely and easily through Alexa-enabled devices.
Award-winning voice technology company, Say It Now, has teamed up with digital advertising exchange DAX to enable people to respond directly to radio advertisements on their smart speaker and use voice commands to donate to their chosen charity.
NSPCC, RNIB, Crisis, Macmillan Cancer Support and Global’s Make Some Noise are the first beneficiaries, with each running separate advertising campaigns.
The initiative will provide a crucial boost as UK charities look for new ways to generate income in the wake of the coronavirus. (Thirty-one percent of charities surveyed by Pro Bono Economics reported that the way in which Covid-19 had affected their ability to fundraise was their biggest single issue. An additional study by the independent charity revealed that the sector is facing a £10.1 billion funding gap over the next six months.)
Say It Now secured funding from Innovate UK to create the donation channel for not-for-profit organisations following the call from the UK’s innovation agency for ambitious technologies to build UK resilience after the coronavirus outbreak.
Targeted audio ads will run specifically on devices that support a voice-assistant; listeners can find out more about the individual charity or donate straight away with a simple verbal instruction. (This makes the assumption, based on Say It Now’s direct industry experience, that most voice assistants are directly linked to a payment service, such as Amazon Pay.) Transactions are frictionless while the connected nature of the devices enables the direct effect of ad spend on user engagement to be measured.
Say It Now has developed the technology as evolving consumer habits see people embrace voice commerce to complement mobile and ecommerce. Thirty-four per cent of UK households have a smart speaker and 72% of people with smart speakers use them as part of daily routines. The use of smart speakers has increased 12% each month during Covid-19. Listening to audio remains the most popular activity on smart speakers while voice transactions are projected to be worth £3.5 billion in 2022.
Charlie Cadbury, CEO and co-founder of Say It Now, commented: “The pandemic has accelerated existing trends, paving the way for voice technology which is versatile, contactless and increasingly part of daily life. The Innovate UK funding enables us to use our voice experience and work alongside our media partner DAX to develop ‘tech for good’ as charities look for new ways to generate income in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The aim is to demonstrate that ‘voice giving’ is a viable donation channel both now and for the future.”
Emma Bradley, Managing Director at Global Charities, said: “We are a national charity that supports small charities looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. At a time when they are most needed, their ability to continue their essential services has been severely disrupted by Covid-19. Combining Say It Now’s voice technology with Global’s own advertising platform, DAX, is a powerful antidote to help aid recovery through challenging times.”
Hear how the Advert sounds and how easy the transaction is in the below video:
Josephine Swinhoe, Director of Income Generation at NSPCC, said: “The world is increasingly technology-driven and working with Say It Now allows us to be at the forefront of testing new ways to engage with our supporters. The collaboration with other charities enables us to fast track best practice that will benefit the sector overall as it looks to recover from the effects of the crisis and develop innovative fundraising for the future.”
Alex McDowell, Head of Public Fundraising at the RNIB, said: “The coronavirus has had an impact on all of our lives. For many charities, it has made fundraising more challenging at the same time that demand for services has increased. RNIB are always looking at new ways we can inspire support and make it easier for people to contribute to our vision and we are delighted to involved in this innovative programme. Not only does it provide a frictionless way for people to support RNIB’s vital work, it also has wider benefits to blind and partially sighted people, who will experience this service in exactly the same way as all Alexa users.”
Richard Lee, Director of Fundraising at Crisis, said: “The coronavirus lockdown has magnified the value of home for all of us. Through our ‘Home for All’ campaign, we have supported people who are homeless during the pandemic, meeting immediate practical needs and helping to rebuild lives in the longer-term. But alternative ways to generate income are essential if we are to ultimately end homelessness; partnering with Say It Now and adopting new voice technology donation channels keeps that goal firmly in sight.”
Macmillan Cancer Support
Claire Rowney, Executive Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Macmillan is funded almost entirely by public donations and we are facing the hardest year in our 109-year existence as we contend with an estimated income drop of a third, due to the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when people with cancer need us more than ever. Say It Now’s innovative initiative will play a key role in providing existing and new supporters with another way to donate and every penny raised will help enable Macmillan to continue to provide the vital support that people with cancer rely on, now and in the future.”
Say It Now uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to develop technology that lets computers talk to people in the same way that people have conversations with each other with a specific focus on voice transactions. In 2019 it won bronze in the inaugural Alexa World Cup, a global challenge devised by Amazon to find the ‘killer voice app’. Its enterprise expertise and agile attitude has enabled Say It Now to rapidly develop this innovative charity voice giving application.
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About Innovate UK
Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. It connects businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth.
It funds business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions.
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org
About Say It Now
With a heritage of enterprise software delivery experience, Say It Now specialises in understanding natural language so that computers can talk to people in the same way that people converse with each other. This helps brands and consumers to benefit from automated communications, which are becoming increasingly relevant as more people have smart speakers in their homes and are becoming comfortable and confident using them.
Launched in 2018, the company provides consulting and software development services to enable transactions and insights using voice assistants on smart speakers (Amazon Alexa and Google Home) and chatbots on messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SMS.
The company won the UK and European rounds of Amazon’s Alexa Cup competition, and achieved the bronze medal in the final held at the end of July 2019.
Global is one of the world’s leading Media & Entertainment groups. Europe’s largest radio company, Global is home to respected, national market leading media brands broadcasting across the UK on DAB & FM and around the world on Global Player, including Capital, Heart, Classic FM, LBC, LBC News, Global’s Newsroom, Smooth, Radio X, Capital XTRA and Gold. Global Player allows listeners to enjoy all of Global’s radio brands, award-winning podcasts, and expertly curated playlists, in one place in app, on web and on smart speakers.
Global is also one of the leading Outdoor companies in both the UK & Europe, with over 235,000 sites reaching 95% of the UK population. Global’s extensive and diverse outdoor portfolio encompasses Transport for London’s Underground network, almost all major UK airports including Gatwick, the UK’s largest portfolio of roadside posters and premium digital screens in prime locations, as well as the UK’s largest network of buses including all major cities.
On-air, on Global Player and with our outdoor platforms combined, Global reaches 51 million individuals across the UK every week, including 25 million on the radio alone.
Global created and operates DAX (Digital Ad Exchange), the market leader in digital audio advertising and a pioneering platform in programmatic outdoor advertising.
The company headquarters is in London’s iconic Leicester Square. Ashley Tabor-King OBE is Founder & Executive President, Stephen Miron is Group CEO, Lord Allen is Chairman and James Rea is Director of Broadcasting. Ashley Tabor-King created Global in 2007.