Amazon Dash Button enables click to give $5 to ACLU

Howard Lake | 9 February 2017 | News

Digital developer Nathan Pryor has come up with a practical solution when he is alarmed or frustrated by President Trump’s latest announcement or declaration. He has coded an Amazon Dash button that will trigger a $5 donation to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Amazon Dash Buttons are plastic buttons that were originally designed to allow a quick purchase of regularly bought items such as toilet rolls and washing powder. They save time by enabling shoppers to skip logging into Amazon and using the standard ordering process.

Amazon Dash Buttons - image:

Amazon Dash Buttons

The buttons, part of the Internet of Things (IoT),  can be stuck in a convenient place, such as next to the fridge or bathroom cabinet.
Showcasing his creation on, Pryor explained:

“Wanting a more immediate and responsive way to do something about the outrage a friend and I felt every time we read about the latest assaults on civil liberties, I built an Amazon Dash button that sends $5 to the ACLU every time I press it. Repurposing the technology to do good, not just buy goods.”



Creating the ACLU Dash Button

The button was not, therefore, created by ACLU itself, but it would be possible to replicate it to support other charities.
However, it was not straightforward. Pryor explained that, despite the accompanying iPhone app and promises of plug-and-play setup, it took several hours to register the button and link it to the donation script he had written.
He then designed a button with the ACLU logo to stick on the front of the button.
Pryor keeps it next to his laptop, ready to press whenever he feels the need to convert his frustration into practical help for ACLU.
Why not just set up a regular monthly gift? He explained:

“There’s not the tactile thrill of the press and I wouldn’t have learned my way around this technology.”


More charity Dash buttons?

Will charities or their supporters embrace Amazon Dash buttons to encourage repeat and frictionless donations? A physical ‘Give Now’ button that is built on the simplicity of an established ‘Buy Now’ button might appeal to some, but as with many tech ‘solutions’ a button is not an effective fundraising ask.
A plethora of bits of plastic featuring a charity’s logo would be novel and draw attention, but they are still one-function chunks of plastic so might not appeal to charities concerned about their environmental impact. In addition, distributing such Dash buttons mean that a charity would be embracing the Internet of Things, with the risks that can entail in terms of how secure such items are from hacking or misuse.
On the other hand, a Dash button for charity might work well in some situations. It could function as a modern version of an office swear box, or in situations where a company might make multiple donations on behalf of its staff or customers.
You can download the code that Pryor created from Github, but note that he built in few failsafes and he used a pre-paid debit card to avoid an error draining his bank account.