Support a Charity While You Shop with AmazonSmile

Amazon Smile LogoAs you know, I am a huge fan of Amazon.com. I make many purchases there and am a Prime member.  The reason I enjoy it is because of the quick shipping and service. Have you ever had to return a product to Amazon?  Well, I have and it is super easy. Either way, I have been on a mission lately to figure out ways to save on Amazon and use the service more.  I recently wrote about 5 little known ways to save at Amazon.  It was a hit for sure that was picked up by quite a few large websites.  As I looked more into buying items via Amazon, I came across AmazonSmile.  This is a program Amazon created last year right before the holiday shopping season.  Here is what the program entails.

What is AmazonSmile?

Basically, AmazonSmile is a program that automatically donates a small portion of your purchase to your favorite charity.  Now, how small are we talking about?  0.50% of your purchase.  That really does not sound like much, but you have to remember that Amazon is huge.  They have billions flowing through their systems every year.  They key for AmazonSmile working is you have to shop through smile.amazon.com instead of just going to amazon.com.  The Smile site is just the same as the regular Amazon site, but just lives on a sub-domain.

Here is where AmazonSmile wins.  You get to choose the charity where the donation is made.  Currently, AmazonSmile supports nearly one million non-profit organizations. This means your favorite charity is bound to be on the list.  You can select your favorite charity when you go to AmazonSmile and they will get a donation every time you make a purchase.  You can also change the charity before you check out if you want to spread the love around.

You don’t get to write off any donation because Amazon is the one making the donation.  I have read some people upset about this, but I am not sure why they can be. They aren’t even donating. They are just buying products like they normally would, but their favorite charity is benefiting.

Some Think AmazonSmile is Bad

When I first heard about the program, I decided to read up on it.  It looked easy enough and I have made quick a few purchases through it benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.  I will be switching my charity to St. Judes soon, but haven’t made another purchase recently.  Either way, I was looking for reviews on this new Amazon initiative and there are some who think charities are going to be hurt by this.  Now, their logic is regarding how people think they are the ones doing the donating when they purchase through AmazonSmile, so they wont’ directly give to the charity.

If you think about the percentage Amazon gives, then if you wanted to donate $50 to your favorite charity, you would have to spend $10,000.  That is a lot of dough.  Where I think these reviews are flawed is most of these people probably don’t give to charities in the first place.  They weren’t planning on giving their hard earned money to a charity, especially not related to the purchase on Amazon.  If you are going to purchase something on Amazon, then why not take the one second and switch to smile.amazon.com and then pick a charity. Then your purchase does give the charity a benefit.  These charities are now getting money where they weren’t before. They also don’t have to work for it.  I know many small charities and working for donations is the hardest part.  They would love to get money without having to work hard looking for it. That is what AmazonSmile does.

PS. Amazon had over $74 billion in sales in 2013.  If everyone used AmazonSmile instead, then the donation amount would be over $370 million for not extra effort. I am sure those charities would appreciate that kind of cash influx. While I am not naive in thinking everyone is going to use AmazonSmile, just think of the scale which Amazon does reach.  Just a small portion can make a big difference with these charities.

I Now Shop Through AmazonSmile

I donate to charities on a regular basis, so knowing AmazonSmile is around isn’t going to change that.  Since I am not the one actively giving, I still feel obligated to give to my favorite charities.  That being said, I will continue to shop through AmazonSmile and give a small portion of my purchase to specific charities.  It doesn’t cost me anything.  It is easy to use and you are helping just a little bit when you buy stuff from Amazon.  Remember though, you have to go to smile.amazon.com in order for a portion of your purchase to go to your favorite charity.

[box type=”info” align=”aligncenter” ]Smile Tip: When you are on Amazon.com and you find a product, try just replacing the www. with smile. and see if the product page still works.  Many of them do and you can easily switch to Smile this way. There is also a Google Chrome extension called Smile Always that will help you shop on Amazon through AmazonSmile.[/box]

For those of you like me who enjoy shopping and saving at Amazon, then why not incorporate a little donating into the mix. It is really easy and doesn’t cost you anything.  Try it out when you are shopping at Amazon next and switch your browser to smile.amazon.com!

 

What do you think of AmazonSmile?  Would you use it or have you before?

About the Author Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress support company, along with another blog, Eyes on the Dollar, which is another great personal finance blog.

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19 comments
Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says September 15

I prefer Amazon than any others. I think it’s their commitment to provide quality products and maintain good relationship with customers which make it stand out among others. Though I had a problem with the product I bought, still I had an easy accessible process to change the item. I will donate to AmazonSmile next time I buy a product.

Reply
    Laurie says September 16

    Well, you don’t have to donate to AmazonSmile. They donate for you when you purchase a product as long as you go to smile.amazon.com!

    Reply
John @ Wise Dollar says September 15

Very interesting. I would definitely try something like this. As I view it, it actually takes a step out of the process for me – thus making it easier for me. If there is a charity on their list I’d be giving to anyway, then it could possibly mean that I don’t have to go make a contribution directly but will happen because of the purchase I need to make. That’s a win/win in my book.

Reply
    Laurie says September 16

    I hope you wouldn’t short the charity you would give to anyway. As I said with the math, you would need to purchase $10,000 worth of products to donate $50. This can be a great way to add extra to the charity of your choice.

    Reply
MoneyMiniBlog says September 15

Lately, when I shop on Amazon, the Smile pop-up kept coming up and I kept closing it out of internet-surfing habit. That’s just my initial response to pop-ups. After a few times, I actually read it, then I started using it. I think it’s great that a small percentage of each transaction adds up to a HUGE amount with everyone doing it. I love the idea of passive giving.

Reply
    Laurie says September 16

    I hat pop-ups as well, but this one caught my eye and I have enjoyed it so far.

    Reply
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says September 15

I had no idea, yet another reason to love Amazon.

Reply
Melanie @ My Alternate Life says September 16

I am not much of an Amazon user, but I’m glad they are giving back. A big argument against Amazon is that they take away local business, so it’s good for them to give back in this way.

Reply
    Laurie says September 16

    That has been a big argument against Amazon. While I was a small business competing against Amazon, I learned that selling my products on Amazon was a better bet. Sometimes you have to pay with the big dogs to win.

    Reply
Mr. Frugalwoods says September 16

Smile is an easy way to toss a couple bucks a year to your favorite charity! I send it towards our local Greyhound Rescue org, along with a yearly donation that’s much more substantial!

Reply
    Laurie says September 16

    Nice work Mr. Frugalwoods! You got the premise of AmazonSmile down pat.

    Reply
Kim says September 16

I have not used the program but see no reason not to if it doesn’t make transactions any harder. I agree people who use this as a reason not to make donations probably wouldn’t donate anyway.

Reply
    Laurie says September 16

    It doesn’t make the transactions any harder. You just have to change the URL once you get there and then you are good to go.

    Reply
Connie @ Savvy With Saving says September 17

I’ve been using Amazon smile for a little while now. Nice to know I can make a difference, even in the smallest of ways.

Reply
Jason says January 15

Grayson…have you checked out iMyne? Free to use and it’s a larger donation percentage. You also earn cash rewards for yourself! Plus, you are not just limited to Amazon. There are many other retailers to choose from, including Amazon. The website is http://www.imyne.com.

Reply
    Grayson Bell
    Grayson Bell says January 15

    I have never heard of it. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the reference.

    Reply
      Jason says April 2

      Grayson, did you get a chance to look at the site?

      Reply
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