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If using AmazonSmile made you feel less guilty for your Amazon impulse purchases, we’ve got bad news for you: the charitable platform is on the chopping block. Yep, the retail giant announced that AmazonSmile will be ending really soon.
AmazonSmile was a service Amazon provided in which you could choose a charity to donate 0.5% of your purchase price at no cost to you, simply by making purchases through smile.amazon.com. Amazon claims to have donated close to $500 million through AmazonSmile since 2013.
Amazon explained the decision in a statement, saying AmazonSmile “has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped.”
Here’s what you need to know about AmazonSmile ending and what’s next for Amazon’s philanthropic programs.
AmazonSmile is ending as of Feb. 20, 2023.
AmazonSmile will continue providing donations through Feb. 20, 2023, to participating organizations. The company also said they’d donate three months of typical AmazonSmile earnings to each charitable organization following the discontinuation of the AmazonSmile program.
Amazon says their donations were spread too thin to make much of a difference to most organizations.
Although Amazon has donated almost half a billion dollars in the last 10 years through AmazonSmile, that money was divided between more than 1 million different nonprofit organizations around the world.
The program allowed shoppers to pick a large organization like the American Red Cross or a small community’s pee wee football league. To see even $100 donated to your charity of choice, you’d have to spend $20,000 in Amazon purchases.
An Amazon rep told the New York Times that with so many organizations participating in the program, the average donation to each organization in 2022 was only around $230. “Our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin,” Amazon’s official statement read.
Amazon says your purchases will still help charitable causes moving forward.
While AmazonSmile won’t provide donations to charities anymore, Amazon will still enable charities to create wish lists through the mega-retailer. As such, you can buy items from the wish lists to be delivered directly to the organization of your choice.
That said, you’d probably be better off just donating directly to a charity in order to reap the tax benefits.
Amazon did say that they’ll continue their existing charity programs, including supporting food banks, disaster relief, affordable housing initiatives, and science curriculum — plus some new, not-yet-announced initiatives they’re exploring.
There are other ways to donate to charity while you shop.
Though AmazonSmile is ending, there are still plenty of ways you can give back for free while also stocking up on your favorite staples. You can use these sites and apps to donate to your favorite causes at no cost to you:
- Ecosia is a search engine you can use to plant trees for free. You can add it as a browser extension so you don’t even have to go to the site directly.
- EScrip donates to a cause of your choice when you register your store cards and/or credit or debit cards with the service. The retailers are mostly grocery chains in local and regional markets, so depending on where you live, this may or may not be the best choice for you.
- Give As You Live fundraises specifically for UK charities. If you live across the pond or just happen to be an anglophile, this may be a great option for you.
- GoodShop will donate a percentage of your purchase price to a charity of your choice when you shop through their platform, and they’ll also hook you up with promo codes. Donation amounts vary by retailer.
- iGive has 2,000 retailers to choose from that will donate 3% of purchase prices to a charity of your choice. That’s much more than AmazonSmile! As a bonus, if your charity of choice isn’t listed on their site, you can list it yourself.
- ShoppingGives will donate to a cause of your choice with each purchase from select retailers.
- ShopRaise has an app you can use while online shopping to donate up to 10% of your purchase to causes of your choice. Donation amounts vary by retailer.
Also: If you don’t mind throwing down some money of your own, CoinUp will round up your change from credit and debit card purchases to the nearest dollar amount and donate it to the charity of your choice. It will automatically charge you $5 monthly to maintain your charity, so if your budget is already tight and you don’t think your regular purchases will add up to $60 annually, you may want to consider other options.