This week, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) launched an innovative Alexa skill to enable people to donate money and unwanted furniture and electrical items through any Alexa-enabled device like Amazon Echo.

The charity is the first organisation in the world to enable people to arrange for the collection of furniture and electrical items through Alexa and is the first UK charity to receive donations via an Alexa skill.

Simply enable the Alexa skill by asking an Alexa enabled-device or through the Alexa app. People can make a one-off donation to the BHF through Amazon Pay or organise a free and fast collection of unwanted furniture and electrical items, which will be sold in one of around 180 BHF Furniture and Electrical stores in the UK. Just ask “Alexa, ask British Heart Foundation to collect my furniture,” or “Alexa, open British Heart Foundation and donate money.”

Rebecca Shorrocks

After a donation is made, Rebecca Shorrocks, 36, shares her story in her own voice through the Alexa-enabled device and thanks supporters for donating to the BHF. Becky was diagnosed with ARVC, a rare genetic disease of the heart muscle that puts her at a high risk of suffering a cardiac arrest. She’s been fitted with an internal defibrillator called an ICD, which is able to shock her heart back to a stable rhythm if this happens.

“I’m honoured to be a part of the British Heart Foundation’s very first Amazon Echo skill,” said Becky. “With no cure for ARVC, donations to help fund the British Heart Foundation’s life saving research are vital. It means I can have hope for the future.”

Becky is one of an estimated seven million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory disease and these conditions currently kill one in four people. Money raised from customers through the Amazon Alexa skill will help the charity raise funds for pioneering research into heart and circulatory conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and their risk factors like diabetes.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the BHF, added: “More people than ever own a digital assistant like the Amazon Echo and it’s really exciting for our supporters to be able to use their device to support lifesaving heart research.”