Smart Home

Alexa now lets you donate to nearly 50 nonprofits

The voice assistant's new skill may lay the groundwork for payments to friends and family.

The eligible charities include Feeding America, DonorsChoose and Wounded Warrior Project.
Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon's Alexa is getting in the giving spirit.

The voice assistant now lets you donate to nearly 50 nonprofits via voice using Amazon Pay, an Amazon spokesperson said Monday. You can tell your Amazon Echo speaker, "Alexa, donate $10 to American Cancer Society" or "Alexa, make a donation."

"This is just the beginning -- this list will continue to grow," the spokesperson said.

The new capability may get people more comfortable with spending money through a voice assistant. So far, voice shopping is still low on the list of activities that people use their Alexa devices for. Amazon is working to boost that.

Also, donations may be a first step toward Amazon allowing people to send money to friends and family by voice. Google rolled out that ability on its Google Assistant last month.

The list of Alexa Donations nonprofits includes many well-known national groups such as the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the American Heart Association. But it also includes a number of small or lesser-known groups, such as the Coyote Point Rifle and Pistol Club, the West Seattle Baseball League and Moments with the Book.

As of Monday, Alexa allows you to make a donation between $5 and $5,000 and tells you it will share your name, address and email with the charity. It will ask repeatedly if you want to go through with the donation, but you can also set up a four-digit voice-shopping code to prevent accidental donations.