If you regularly shop on Amazon, you could easily be donating 0.5% of your purchases toward the charity of your choice. AmazonSmile is a program launched in 2013 to facilitate fundraising for a wide range of charitable organizations. In fact, every item available for purchase on Amazon.com is also available on AmazonSmile.
By selecting a charity and shopping through AmazonSmile, customers can enable Amazon to donate in a way that’s simple and automatic. Whether it’s a neighborhood preschool, an animal shelter, a dance company, hospitals, or research organization, it’s likely available to support via Amazon. There are more than one million 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations registered to receive donations. From large and well-known ones, like the Red Cross and Sierra Club, to smaller local ones. In fact, so many groups have registered, that Amazon has recently come under scrutiny as to whether all of the non-profits are reputable and deserving.
According to Amazon, eligible organizations must be public charitable organizations that are registered and in good standing with the IRS as a 501(c)(3). Charitable organizations must also be located in the US. Organizations that engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities are not eligible to participate. Though, how Amazon monitors this is unclear.
Milestone amounts raised through AmazonSmile
In an October 2018 press release, Amazon announced it had donated $100 million to charities through the program.
“Hundreds of thousands of charities have been able to expand their meaningful work thanks to the donations they’ve received through AmazonSmile, and we want to say thank you to customers who are supporting important causes every time they shop,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer. “We appreciate all the positive feedback from customers who say they love having a simple way to help support their favorite charity.”
Amazon celebrated the milestone by upping the donation amount tenfold for five days to 5%.
Other charitable channels
Besides AmazonSmile, Amazon has periodically opened fundraising and donation channels for certain causes. In 2004, Amazon allowed customers to donate to presidential campaigns, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for candidates. Amazon also occasionally allows for direct Red Cross donations during times of crises. As a result, Amazon opened donations in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2004 earthquakes and tsunami in the Indian Ocean. In recent years, wishlists for organizations and AmazonSmile have taken the spotlight when it comes to Amazon giving through the website.
How to shop on Amazon Smile
- Visit smile.amazon.com.
- Sign in with your regular Amazon.com credentials.
- Choose a charitable organization to receive donations, or search for the charity of your choice.
- Select your charity.
- Start shopping!
- Add a bookmark for smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.
How to register as a charity on AmazonSmile
In order to begin receiving donations through AmazonSmile, an organization administrator will need to register your charity on Amazon. To register, follow these steps:
- Search for your charitable organization by name or EIN number and then select the organization you represent. Be sure to confirm you are selecting the correct organization, as many charitable organizations have similar names.
- Create an organization administrator account and accept the AmazonSmile Participation Agreement on behalf of your organization.
- Verify your email address (use an email address that is associated with your charitable organization).
- Submit your organization’s bank account information.
- Upload a copy of a voided check or bank statement to verify your organization’s bank account information.