Donate to Charities With Google Assistant

Beginning December 12, 2018, Google Assistant gained the ability to donate to charities via voice command. At the same time, the Google Play Store added a built-in feature to make donations right from an Android device. To use either feature, users need to set up their payment with Google Assistant Payments, and can do so by going to Assistant settings -> Personal Info -> Payments. There, users can add a credit/debit card, a delivery address, in addition to an approval method such as a password or fingerprint. To donate, say, “Hey Google, donate to charity,” or name a charity of their choice along with a donation amount.

Ok Google, donate $10 to Red Cross.


Photo Credit: 9to5Google

A payment confirmation is required for all transactions, and users can say something along the lines of “Yes,” or “Donate Now” to confirm. Details of the transaction, including the official name of the charity, will be sent to users in a summary note afterward. Users can donate to 501(c)(3) public charities in the U.S. After confirmation, the donation money is routed to Network for Good, a nonprofit that processes donations for charities. Although this action is available on all Google Assistant enabled devices, the transaction confirmation and finalization must be done through an Android phone.

Google Enabled Play Store Donations Too

As previously stated, this feature was actually launched in early December. In addition to Google Assistant charity donation, Google added a built-in feature to their application store that enables charity donations, too. By going to the Play Store or on an Android device, a special collection of charities will be shown to users in addition to a “Donate Now” button. Users can contribute $5, $25, $50, $100, or $200 to charities that help with disaster relief, closing the gender gap in tech, medical care, and clean water. Google also says that 100% of a user’s donation goes to the selected nonprofit. Some nonprofits included in the list below are initiatives that Google has worked with in the past:

  • American Red Cross
  • charity: water
  • Doctors Without Borders USA
  • Girls Who Code
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Room to Read
  • Save the Children
  • World Food Program USA
  • World Wildlife Fund US

Following the Actions of Other Voice Assistants

Google Assistant is by no means the only voice assistant allowing for donations to charities via voice command. Amazon gave Alexa the feature in April 2018. Back then, Alexa announced a list of 48 charities users could choose from. The process is similar: users need to have Amazon Pay set up, a donation confirmation is necessary, in addition to entering a PIN to complete the transaction. There are now more than 200 charities users can donate to, an updated list can be found here. Or, just say, “Alexa, make a donation,” and Alexa will help select a charity from the list.

A unique feature to Alexa is that users can actually donate items too, rather than just a dollar amount. At the beginning of December Alexa announced a collaboration with Toys for Tots as a part of Giving Tuesday. Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday began as a response to the consumerism of the holiday season. Taking place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday has raised $380 million to date. Amazon took part this year by enabling users to donate to Toys for Tots with Alexa, making it the first time voice assistant users have been able to donate items directly to charity with voice commands. Users were able to choose and purchase items from a pre-approved gift list. The purchase is tax deductible, and Amazon will ship the toys directly to Toys for Tots, also providing tracking and delivery updates to users. Amazon also launched “charity lists” users can shop from in order to give to other nonprofits, too. Saying “Alexa, donate to Toys for Tots,” prompts the feature.

Apple also has a history of charity donations via voice assistants. For Red Nose Day 2017 users could tell Siri “I want to donate to Comic Relief,” in order to donate. Enabling charity donations with voice assistants allows users to become more comfortable with payment transactions, and could even help users build trust in shopping with a voice assistant. If consumers trust their voice assistant to donate to charity with no hiccups, they could also begin to trust that their voice assistant will be able to help them shop. Frictionless giving creates the potential for voice assistants to become further entrenched in users’ lives.

Alexa Owners Can Donate Items to Charity Directly for the First Time

Use Amazon Alexa for Donations to 48 Charities by Voice