As 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?