The “urban donation motivating robot” is the result of a collaboration of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, and Korean researchers.
“The trials were really successful because people really liked the experience of giving money to the robot,” Kim Min-su, the design student who developed the idea, told The [Korea] Herald. “There may well be some substantial meaning as to why Dona works — but the most obvious thing is that it’s fun!”
- from “Are Robots the Future of Fund Raising?” by Nicole Wallace, on the Chronicle of Philanthropy Prospecting blog
The strongest case for support that some charities can develop is to give to a robot because it’s fun? Is our problem with street fund raisers truly based in their humanity? When the novelty of dropping a dime in the back of DON-8r or Dona wears off, what sensational form of entertainment will we resort to next?
Using robots to raise money is a telling projection in the way too many charities view donors and their support. Stop treating donors like walking ATM machines and you may find that the act of giving can be deeply fulfilling, loving and transformational, not a heartless transaction over silicon chips.