AmazonSmile is a program run by Amazon that allows customers to support their favorite charitable organization every time they shop, at no cost to them. When customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the customers’ selected charitable organizations.
What Is AmazonSmile?
The Amazon website and the AmazonSmile website are similar in many ways, but there are a few key differences:
Purpose: The main purpose of the Amazon website is to provide customers with a convenient platform for shopping and purchasing products. The main purpose of the AmazonSmile website is to provide customers with an easy way to support their favorite charity through their purchases on Amazon.
Charitable donations: When customers make purchases through the AmazonSmile website, a portion of the purchase price is donated to their chosen charity. This donation does not occur when purchases are made through the regular Amazon website.
Product selection: While both websites offer a wide range of products, not all products available on the Amazon website are eligible for the AmazonSmile program. Customers can check the product detail page to determine if a product is eligible for the program.
User experience: The user experience of the Amazon website and the AmazonSmile website is similar, but the AmazonSmile website includes information about the charity donation program and the ability to select a charity.
The AmazonSmile Foundation is a private nonprofit organization created by Amazon to administer the AmazonSmile program. It operates at cost, using the money it raises through the program to cover its operational costs and make donations to eligible charitable organizations. The foundation is responsible for selecting and monitoring the eligibility of the charitable organizations that participate in the program, as well as processing and distributing the donations generated through the program to those organizations.
AmazonSmile features over one million eligible U.S.-based charitable organizations. Eligible organizations include most public charitable organizations, such as schools, religious organizations, and hospitals.
Some organizations, such as political organizations and lobbying groups, are not eligible for the AmazonSmile program. Customers can search for and select their favorite eligible charity on the AmazonSmile website. If a desired organization is not yet part of the program, customers can invite them to sign up.
How Does It Work?
AmazonSmile functions as a simple and automatic way for customers to support their favorite charity while they shop on Amazon. Here’s how it works:
Customers visit smile.amazon.com to select a charity of their choice from over one million eligible organizations.
Once a charity is selected, Amazon will remember the customer’s choice, and whenever the customer shops on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the customer’s selected charity.
The customer experiences the same shopping experience as on Amazon.com, with the same products, prices, and service. The only difference is that the purchases support a charity.
The AmazonSmile Foundation tracks all donations and disburses them to eligible charities on a quarterly basis.
Benefits of Using AmazonSmile
Using AmazonSmile can be beneficial in several ways:
Easy way to support charity: AmazonSmile provides a simple and convenient way for customers to support their favorite charity while shopping on Amazon.
No extra cost: Using AmazonSmile incurs no additional cost to the customer. The prices of products, shipping fees, and taxes are the same as on Amazon.com, and the customer’s shopping experience is unchanged.
Making a difference: Every eligible purchase made on AmazonSmile generates a small donation to the customer’s selected charity, which can add up over time and make a meaningful difference to the organization.
Supporting multiple charities: Customers can change their selected charity at any time and support multiple charities by shopping on AmazonSmile.
How to Use AmazonSmile?
Most products available on Amazon are eligible for the AmazonSmile program, with some exceptions. Physical products, including books, electronics, clothing, and toys, are eligible for the program. However, certain products, such as digital products (e.g. e-books, streaming video, and software), are not eligible for the program.
Additionally, some third-party sellers may choose not to participate in the AmazonSmile program, so not all products from all sellers may be eligible for the program. To ensure that a purchase is eligible for AmazonSmile, customers should look for the “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” message on the product detail page.
Digital products, such as e-books, streaming video, and software, are not eligible for the AmazonSmile program because they do not have a physical product to be shipped. Since the AmazonSmile program generates donations based on the purchase of physical products, digital products are not included in the program.
Additionally, digital products can often be delivered instantly, and there may be technical challenges associated with tracking and attributing donations for these types of products.
While digital products are not currently eligible for the AmazonSmile program, customers can still support their favorite charity by purchasing physical products through AmazonSmile, such as books, electronics, clothing, and toys.Third-party sellers may choose not to participate in the AmazonSmile program for a variety of reasons. Some sellers may not be aware of the program or may not understand how it works. Others may have concerns about the costs associated with participating in the program, such as fees for shipping and handling, or may have concerns about the potential impact on their sales.
Additionally, some sellers may choose not to participate in AmazonSmile because they already have their own charitable giving program or prefer to support charities in a different way.
It’s important to note that participating in the AmazonSmile program is optional for third-party sellers, and customers can still support their favorite charity by purchasing products from Amazon or other participating sellers. The eligibility of a product for the AmazonSmile program can be checked on the product detail page before making a purchase.
Customers have generally had positive experiences with AmazonSmile. Many appreciate the simplicity and convenience of supporting their favorite charity while shopping on Amazon, with no extra cost or inconvenience. Customers also appreciate the ability to easily switch between charities and support multiple organizations.
There have also been some customers who express frustration with the 0.5% donation rate, stating that they would like to see a higher percentage of their purchases donated to charity. However, many customers still appreciate the ease of supporting their favorite charity through AmazonSmile, and consider it a worthwhile program.
While many customers have had positive experiences with AmazonSmile, there have been some negative experiences reported by customers as well. Some common complaints include:
Low donation rate: Some customers have expressed frustration with the 0.5% donation rate, stating that they would like to see a higher percentage of their purchases donated to charity.
Limited availability of products: Some customers have reported that not all products available on Amazon are eligible for the AmazonSmile program, and that the selection of eligible products can be limited.
Confusion with regular Amazon purchases: Some customers have reported confusion about which purchases are eligible for the AmazonSmile program and which are not, leading to frustration when their purchases do not support a charity as they intended.
Technical issues: Some customers have reported technical issues with the AmazonSmile program, such as problems selecting a charity or tracking donations.
Read the program details: Before making a purchase through AmazonSmile, make sure you understand how the program works, what products are eligible, and how donations are calculated.
Choose a charity: Choose a charity that you would like to support through the AmazonSmile program, and make sure that the charity is recognized as a tax-exempt public charity.
Start your shopping at AmazonSmile: Make sure to start your shopping on the AmazonSmile website (smile.amazon.com), instead of the regular Amazon website, to ensure that your purchases are eligible for the program.
Check product eligibility: Before making a purchase, check the product detail page to ensure that the product is eligible for the AmazonSmile program.
Track your donations: Keep track of your purchases through AmazonSmile and the amount of money donated to your chosen charity, so you can monitor your support for the charity over time.
Monitoring Your Donation
There are several ways to monitor and control your donations through AmazonSmile:
- Keep track of your purchases: Keep a record of your purchases through AmazonSmile and the amount of money donated to your chosen charity, so you can monitor your support for the charity over time.
- Review your AmazonSmile account: Log into your AmazonSmile account periodically to see the total amount of money donated to your chosen charity. This information is usually updated on a monthly basis.
- Contact Amazon: If you have any questions or concerns about your donations, you can contact Amazon customer service for more information.
- Contact your charity: You can also contact your chosen charity directly to inquire about the donations received from AmazonSmile and to ensure that the donations are being used for the purposes you intended.
Eligible and Non-Eligible Charities
Religious organizations are eligible for the AmazonSmile program, as long as they are recognized as tax-exempt public charities. However, some religious organizations may not participate in AmazonSmile for reasons such as not having registered with the AmazonSmile program, or because they have chosen not to accept donations from the program.
Additionally, organizations that engage in activities that are illegal or violate AmazonSmile’s policies, including hate or discriminatory activities, are not eligible to participate in the program.
Lobbying groups are typically not eligible to participate in the AmazonSmile program because they do not meet the criteria for tax-exempt public charities. Lobbying organizations are often classified as organizations that are generally not eligible for charitable donations because they engage in political activities and lobbying.
Political organizations, including political action committees and political campaigns, are not eligible to participate in the AmazonSmile program because they are not recognized as tax-exempt public charities. Political organizations are often involved in activities that are inherently political, such as supporting or opposing political candidates or legislation, and as a result, do not meet the criteria for charitable organizations as defined by the AmazonSmile program.
Many environmental organizations that are recognized as tax-exempt public charities are eligible to participate in the AmazonSmile program. Some examples of eligible environmental organizations include:
- The Nature Conservancy
- World Wildlife Fund
- Sierra Club Foundation
- The Rainforest Trust
- Defenders of Wildlife
The AmazonSmile program is currently available to customers in the United States, and eligible charities must be recognized as tax-exempt public charities.
AmazonSmile does not currently operate in other countries, but the company may expand the program to other regions in the future. If you are located outside of the United States, it is best to check the AmazonSmile website for updates on the availability of the program in your area.
Other Popular Amazon Programs
There are several popular programs offered by Amazon, some of which include:
- Amazon Prime: A premium membership program that offers free and fast shipping, exclusive access to streaming of movies, TV shows and music, unlimited photo storage, and more.
- Amazon Fresh: A grocery delivery service that provides fresh food and household essentials.
- Amazon Pay: A secure, fast and convenient way to pay for purchases on the Amazon website and other websites that accept Amazon Pay.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS): A cloud computing platform that provides customers with a wide range of services, including computing, storage, and databases.
- Amazon Prime Video: A streaming service that offers a selection of movies and TV shows, including original content, available exclusively to Prime members.
- Amazon Music: A music streaming service that provides access to millions of songs, podcasts, and live streaming events.
- Amazon Devices: A range of devices, including the Amazon Echo, Fire TV, Kindle, and more, that are designed to make it easier for customers to access and enjoy Amazon’s services.