Voice is going to make a huge impact in the advocacy space because advocacy has always been about raising your voice in support of or against something. With the introduction of smart speakers like Alexa, we envision a skill that allows users to engage in advocacy by contacting their elected officials and/or signing petitions just by talking to Alexa. "Alexa, open Good Deeds and sign the HSUS petition to stop puppy mills." or "Alexa, open Good Deeds and contact my elected official about puppy mills." That's it! Alexa obeys, and you have a happy user who feels proud that they took action on an issue they care about.
What it does
Good Deeds is a skill that allows Echo/Dot/Tap users to make advocate on behalf of charities on issues they care about. A user can sign a petition sponsored by a charity or contact their elected official on the same issue. Alexa will use the user's information, with their permission. to sign a petition or place a call between the user and their elected official.
How I built it
The skill is built with Node.js and the Alexa Node.js skills kit
Challenges I ran into
- Since Alexa doesn't expose the calling feature to API users, I had to use Twilio to make and connect calls
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I did it! I have a prototype of the skill that will sign petitions and make calls to elected officials and it's so easy and removes a lot of friction. No need to go on a website and sign a form, or look up my elected official. I just use my voice!
What I learned
Developing for Alexa is very easy. Documentation is well written and support team is amazing. But please make calling available to skills like this.
What's next for Good Deeds
Allowing people to find their polling locations and maybe even request forms to vote from their election offices. This is not a one and done thing. We plan to enable users use voice for good.