Welcome to the Otter Side: A Nonprofit’s Guide to Otter App

rachel.davis's picture

By: Rachel Davis

If you haven’t tried out Otter.ai yet head over to TechSoup right now and get it! Seriously, It will change your life forever. There are so many different ways you can use this amazing tool in your workflow. I know you’re excited already but don’t stop reading yet! The rest of this post walks through Otter at-a-glance and how you can put it to work at your nonprofit. 


Right now you are probably thinking, “What the heck is Otter? You mean those cute sea animals I see fantastic memes about all over the interwebs?” 


Nope, not quite! Otter is magic. Well ok, it’s not literally magic—it’s a fantastically well-done transcription app with artificial intelligence at its core. Actually, it’s way more than just a transcription tool. It organizes your conversations, pulls out keywords, allows you to search for specific terms, tag speakers, and even add your own vocabulary. 

STEP 1: Download Otter HERE

STEP 2: Talk to Otter, let it learn your voice. Once you download you will be prompted to record something so Otter can learn who you are and tag you as a speaker.

STEP 3: Create folders to keep your transcription organized. You can actually do this as you go as you learn all the amazing things you can do with Otter. You are going to want to organize it all—trust me.

STEP 4: Start using Otter and be amazed. 

You may have to go in and clean up your transcription a little, but it’s pretty minimal. There is an edit button right there at the top of your conversation after it’s transcribed. You can tag your speakers and clean up any misheard words. But Otter learns as it listens and your transcriptions will get better and better. 

So what next? How do you use Otter as a nonprofit? Let’s jump right in!


The ever-present meeting. They are going to happen whether we like it or not, so how do you make the most of them? 

The Challenge: For any kind of meeting—board meetings to all hands and even meetings with partners, do you really need to to be furiously taking notes with your head buried in your notebook or laptop? Think about how much more present you could be if you didn’t have to worry about getting every single word written down. 

How Otter Can Help: Open up Otter and just press record on the app, it’s the microphone button. If you’re on an iPhone you can set up a Siri command and just tell Siri to record on Otter—look Ma no hands! Check out this video on how to use Siri with Otter. 
Mobile Screenshot

Now you have your whole transcription of the meeting that you can go back in, tag your speakers, and clean up. You can export the text (and even the audio) to send out as a summary of the meeting. 


There’s so much content out there just waiting to be captured and used. 

The Challenge: I call this the Swan in the Snowstorm problem. The blank white page staring back at you, mocking you. It happens to all of us, that block, that feeling of dread when you have no idea what to write. The truth is, I bet you have some amazing ideas, you just freeze up when you have to type or write about them! There’s a better way. 


How Otter Can Help: Think of Otter as your accountability partner, talk to otter when you need to get ideas out of your head. Have a thought about a blog topic, or even a promotional email? Start recording talk through it and save that transcription. Come back to it later and use it as a starting point for your blog post or email. It’s ok to talk into your phone alone, but you can also record chats with others. 

Think about that amazing coffee chat you had with a coworker or a friend the other day that spurred ideas for you, don’t you wish you had a way to recall that with a photographic-like memory? Otter can do that for you! 

I even started this blog post on the Otter app, I recorded myself talking about all the ways I thought the app could help nonprofits and went from there. 


There are many parts to effective grant proposal writing but let’s just touch how to make some of the writing a little smoother.

The Challenge: I bet you can talk about your mission and your needs all day long, you care about what you do, I know it. For grant proposal writing, you need to harness that and tell a story about your cause and efforts that create a connection with the funder. 

How Otter Can Help: Get that Otter App ready on your phone, hit the little microphone to start recording, take a deep breath and pretend you’re talking about your nonprofit at a networking event. Put all that emotion behind it you would have when talking to your best friend about what you do and why you care about it. 

Don’t forget to check out your keywords at the top of the transcription. This is one of my favorite features! You can see what words you said the most and find them within the transcript. Those things you said most are probably most important to your content and best to highlight them as you are writing. 

Otter Keyword Screen Shot


There are people who care about your nonprofit. They care enough to donate and volunteer. Why not capture their thoughts and share those?

The Challenge: There are so many stories and content you can gather from those who contribute. Donors give for a reason. Volunteers give their time for a reason. Ask them why and get to know them! You may not be a copywriter or a journalist but you can have a friendly chat with them and use what they say to share the love about your nonprofit. 

How Otter Can Help: Set up a time to sit down and talk with your donor if they agree to chat. If they aren’t local set up a free Zoom meeting and hit record! You can integrate Zoom with Otter and the recorded conversation goes right into the app to be transcribed, or you can just upload the file after the fact. If your donor is local meet them for a cup of coffee and use your Otter App on your phone to record. Even better once your transcription is ready you can go back in and highlight quotes and share them directly on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, talk about a timesaver! And even better it attaches a link to the audio clip of that quote alone - you can delete this link if you like don’t worry!

Otter Twitter Share

Pro Tip: Set up a question database to choose from to prepare yourself for each chat. Maybe there are some standard questions you want to ask everyone, but maybe you want to switch out a couple each time to vary your content.

And there you have it, some guidelines to get you started with using Otter. Go forth and do good things, then come back and tell us all about it by tweeting at @netsquared.