I was recently analyzing our expenses for 2018 and saw that Amazon had a good portion of it. Not majority, but still a good percentage so I decided to do a little investigation to see how much we spent purely through buying items on Amazon. These totals does not include Wholefoods Market purchases. Based on our orders from 2018, we spent a total of $1269.74 and detailed analysis showed that it was mostly bicycle and triathlon stuff for my husband, probably 85% of it. While this amount doesn’t seem that significant in the grand scheme of other expenses, I was wondering if Amazon offered some kind of affiliate portal for charitable organizations and lo and behold, I found AmazonSmile.
AmazonSmile is a simple way to support charitable organizations through your Amazon purchases at no cost to you. The AmazonSmile foundation will donate 0.5% of purchases to the charity of your choice. You simply head to smile.amazon.com/ and use that as your portal for shopping on Amazon. The caveat with this is that you must use the Amazon Smile portal in order for all of your purchases to be counted and there is no support on the app so you have to actually navigate on a desktop or mobile browser. Not the end of the world, but there’s a convenience to the app.
I had never heard of AmazonSmile before and was surprised that such entity even existed within Amazon. The payout comes from the AmazonSmile Foundation. They will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. Almost all Amazon products are eligible and there’s really no change to the way you shop except for the change in URL. You'll be able to tell you're shopping from the correct page if you see the AmazonSmile logo in the corner of the page and "Supporting [charity of your choice]" below the search bar. When you hover over the name of the charity, you can see additional information about it and track the donation amount you've generated through your purchases. When you see a product, look for “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation.” as highlighted below.
I found that part of the reason that I probably never heard of it is because Amazon doesn’t advertise for it that much. Instead of paying for advertising to spread the word on AmazonSmile, they are using that money instead to make a donation to charities. There’s a whole range and list of charities to choose from and if you are a 501(c)(3) public charitable organization, you can potentially sign your charity to receive a donation. While 0.5% isn’t that much, I can see it potentially adding up depending on how heavily you encourage your supporters to shop via AmazonSmile. Based on the stats that Amazon released since AmazonSmile inception, all charities have received $105,515,619.04 as of October 2018 and that’s not a number to be shy about.
As I don’t see Amazon going away in the near future and as our reliance on online shopping continues to increase, I think this can be one way to make a difference with your online shopping. You can read more about AmazonSmile.
So while our 2018 purchases would have only resulted in a donation of around $7, I thing being conscious of using AmazonSmile can certainly add up and be a good way to make use of some online shopping dollars. I’m also happy to see that many of the eco-friendly products that I have purchased through Amazon when I was starting my sustainability journey is eligible so if it is the case that you need to purchase something new to support better habits, might as well contribute a little to charity in the meantime.
Have you heard of AmazonSmile and have used it? Would you use it? If you are charitable organization, would you sign-up for it?