Is AmazonSmile Worth It For Your Charity?

Post by Dani D Picture of Dani D
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In the UK alone, there are more than 168,000 registered charities doing incredible work for some amazing causes. As the digital sphere continues to grow, technology helps to bring a number of new, digital ways for people to donate and help charities succeed with the work they do and the differences they make to people’s (and animals’) lives! 

But are they worth your time?

In this blog, we’ve explored how AmazonSmile works and how you could benefit from its services as well as some other methods of bringing in donations in the cashless and faceless society we’re moving into. 

We’re here to explore AmazonSmile a little deeper so that you can make a better, informed decision on whether it’s right for you and your charity.

AmazonSmile was set up in 2013 and expanded to the UK in November 2017, with the aim of making the donation process that little bit easier and more accessible.

Most people want to donate to charities, however it’s not always at the forefront of their mind when they are leading busy lives. With 51% of people only giving from time-to-time, it’s up to charities to make it more accessible to donate. AmazonSmile makes it a little bit easier to receive donations for your charity.

Should I register my organisation?

AmazonSmile is the same as the main Amazon site we all know and love (probably more than we should!) The only difference here is that a percentage of the order total on an eligible purchase, however big or small, goes to the customer’s chosen charity! 

The site has the exact same products as your regular Amazon, it’s just a percentage of Amazon's profits made that go to your chosen charity.

Not for profit organisations can sign up for free and it is left totally up to the customer's discretion who they donate to. 

The site supports a wide range of causes from STEM education to homelessness, hunger, disaster relief, pets and animals, youth, health, veterans, and more. 

It’s really quick and easy to sign up to be a member of AmazonSmile, and of course the stronger your brand awareness and marketing efforts, the more people will choose to donate to you! 

It’s a simple way to receive small yet regular donations to your charity from anywhere in the world, from one of the largest global online retailers.

What’s even better is it’s free to be a member of and you’ll receive 100% of any donations meaning you can receive additional donations without increased costs.

money next to calculator

How much is the donation that charities receive?

Charities will receive 0.5% of an eligible purchase made by a customer on the website, with no tricks or fees involved! 

Okay, yes, it’s not a mountain of money and when you put it into perspective that Amazon is the ‘world’s most valuable public company’ and in 2019, claimed the title of the world’s biggest company, it’s a small effort at donating. But when you’re getting donations for nothing more than some extra awareness marketing, we believe you should never say no!

The pennies really can add up! 

In the UK alone, since November 2017 Amazon has donated over £3.6 million pounds (as of June 2020) to charities across the country which is just incredible! 

AmazonSmile donations generated as of June 2020

The money you’ll receive isn’t likely to be life-changing for your charity and we certainly wouldn’t recommend basing your fundraising model purely around this platform but now that online, convenience shopping is becoming more popular we certainly believe you should consider it as part of your strategy. 

There are hundreds of amazing causes also receiving donations from Amazon’s customers.

Tweet on how much AmazonSmile has generated for UN Women National Committee UK

It comes down to the size of your charity, your marketing skills and building the awareness of your cause, but it is a perfect way to gain more donations and make your charity a choice on the list! 

Other ways to gain donations...

The AmazonSmile platform isn’t quite a solution to your funding needs, but more of a handy tool. 

You are able to share your organisation on a worldwide site and give people anywhere the ability to donate to your cause - and for free! AmazonSmile should not replace personal giving and other fundraising methods, but instead, become part of a culture of automatic giving.

Other ways business giants like Amazon are taking onboard to help charity donations easier for customers is through payment methods like Pennies, an organisation which adds a donation option onto a card payment. 

They predicted that if every cardholder in the UK donated 30p a month (around one digital penny a day), an extra £175 million could be raised for UK charities! 

They distribute the donations to all the charities signed up to them, and by signing up to this digital charity box your organisation is utilising another method to draw in donations. 

Cashless payments are a way forward it seems as more and more charities take onboard digital methods to take donations instead of just giving loose change - not to mention best practice when it comes to social distancing and keeping everyone safe.

The Church of England has embraced this method, using a business called Goodbox to take donations through contactless payments. Using Goodbox, you take donations through the use of contactless payments. 

This is useful if your organisations do charity fundraising days or stalls outside, or even just a device to have at the till-point in a shop.

Using Goodbox allows people wanting to donate the ability to make a sizable donation more than a couple of pence without needing the cash.

coin towers image from Unsplash

Amazon doesn’t stop there!

There’s more than first meets the eye with Amazon which we’ve seen within their branch out to AmazonSmile platform, but they’ve also been known to go the extra mile when it comes to helping out charitable causes!

With each charity list carefully curated based on the needs of the respective organisation. To find this, you log into Amazon and choose your chosen charity to donate too, where you then access their wishlist. You’ll be able to see a comment below each item saying how many of a product they’re aiming to receive and what their current total of that is. 

This makes it easier for you to see where the demand is most great and your input can be most useful to them. Although Amazon’s layout usually lets you increase the quantity before you click “Add to Basket” when you buy from a wish list you do this from your shopping basket. 

Amazon also announced in December 2019 that it was surprising hundreds of charities in America with even more donations before Christmas, such as: 

  • More than 5,000 blankets, sheets, and pillows.
  • More than 30,000 toys and educational items for kids.
  • More than 40,000 socks, outerwear, pyjamas, shoes, and other apparel items.
  • More than 60,000 food and pantry items from water to canned goods.

The question still stands then, is it really worth it for your charity?

The easier a charity makes it for a donor to give, the higher the likelihood of receiving a donation. So being able to work with an organization as world wide and mammoth as Amazon is a brilliant foot in the door for regular donations.

There are lots of ways to raise donations for your charity, and AmazonSmile is just one route to this modern way of donating, but this service costs both your charity and the donor nothing when you use Amazon Smile! 

Of course, if this isn't the best route for you, there are other available options that can help you bring in donations from online sources as we move away from cash payments and change boxes at the side of the till. 

It’s easy to remember too - if you use Google Chrome, there's an extension that redirects you from Amazon to AmazonSmile whenever you accidentally visit Amazon's main site! 

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