My thoughts on AmazonSmile

I recently learned about AmazonSmile, an interesting way to support your favorite charity.  When you shop on smile.amazon.com, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by you.

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

You can use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

Donations are made by the AmazonSmile Foundation and are not tax deductible by you.

You can choose from almost one million eligible 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations. 

If an organization does not register to participate or becomes ineligible, you will have a chance to select a different organization and we will reallocate the donations accrued to other organizations receiving donations.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

You can change your charity any time. Your AmazonSmile purchases after the change count towards your newly selected charity. To change your charity, sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser and simply select “Change your Charity” in “Your Account.”

Some critics argued that non-profit organizations may lose money fearing that supporters will stop contributing because they already contribute via AmazonSmile, and it is a valid concern.  Through AmazonSmile, if you wanted to give $50 to a charity you’d have to spend $10,000.

As a father of two, and a head of a household with a single income, I find it hard to donate money to organizations that I really care about.  I do donate but not enough.  I wish that I have more money so that I can donate more.  If you know that you don’t donate enough, use AmazonSmile when you shop (just use smile.amazon.com instead of www.amazon.com).  Just know that this is just an additional thing that should not replace your regular contribution.

You should encourage your friend to use AmazonSmile to contribute to the non-profit organization that you care for the most.  Even though the contribution is really small per purchase, if you can get a large number of people to support your organization, (via social media) it may amount to something.  Consider how frequent people actually donate money.  For those people who can’t or do not donate for whatever reason, using AmazonSmile is a way to contribute.  This is the power of the law of big number.  Amazon stands to gain from this as well, but so is your charity.

My favorite non-profit organizations:

  1. Apache Software Foundation: Nowadays, we uses open-sourced software everywhere, especially for our business application.  Open-source software is making a difference in our world.
  2. Mozilla Foundation
  3. Red Cross
  4. Saint Jude Medical Foundation
  5. Oxfam International
  6. We.org

It would be better if AmazonSmile can contribute more, and it would be better if we can convince other retailers such as Costco to do the same.  Please also read How Can I Contribute to Charities Without Donating Money?

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