AmazonSmile is a platform that allows you to donate a portion of the money you spend on your Amazon purchases to a charity of your choice. Despite being around for quite some time now, the charity program remains relatively unknown with many users either unaware of its existence or unsure of how to use it.
Just like amazon.com, AmazonSmile is a platform of the same company which works closely with charity organizations. Rather than as a plug-in or extension, the program functions with its separate website. This website has most of the same products as the regular Amazon website. The only difference lies in the extra feature which allows you to donate 0.5% of your spending to a charity of your choice.
Using AmazonSmile is very simple. However, because of this simplicity, many users are unsure of how it works or if it is being used correctly. This article will cover all the basics you need to know about the program. So, if you’d like to know more about what it is and how it works, just keep on reading.
Introduction To AmazonSmile
If you’re familiar with online shopping, you are probably aware of what Amazon is. The AmazonSmile Foundation is an initiative taken by Amazon, to allow users the choice to donate 0.5% of the amount they spend on Amazon to charities of their choice. AmazonSmile functions on a separate portal with its website, amazonsmile.com (also available under the domain site smile.amazon.com).
AmazonSmile was launched in 2013. Currently, the platform supports nearly one million different charities. The premise is that customers shop on the website just like they would on the regular Amazon website. The only difference is that AmazonSmile users can donate either products or a portion of Amazon’s commission from certain products to any charity listed on the program.
To be more specific, AmazonSmile is an extended platform organized by Amazon which allows customers to make donations while purchasing items. All donations made are collected and handled by the AmazonSmile Foundation. The foundation collects the money to be donated and then gives them to charity organizations based on selections made by users.
Amazon donates to charities from the foundation 4 times a year. Rather than donating in small amounts during every purchase, the foundation collects all donations made quarterly. The money is then electronically transferred to the designated charities within 45 days of each calendar quarter.
How Does AmazonSmile Work?
Now that we are clear on what AmazonSmile is, we can begin discussing how it works. To make this process easier to understand, I have divided this section into two portions. First, we will view what the program is like from the perspective of a customer, and then we will look at what it is like for a charity organization.
AmazonSmile For Customers
AmazonSmile for users is not much different from the normal Amazon website. After registering for an account, you will be taken to the official website where you can shop as you normally do. It is important to note that not all items are eligible for donations. Items approved by sellers for donation will have a stamp in the product description which says “Eligible for AmazonSmile Donations”.
All products on the AmazonSmile website have the same price, shipping fees, tax rates, and discounts as the regular Amazon website. You may now be wondering, if all of the costs are the same, then where is the donation money come from?
All donations made through AmazonSmile are paid for by Amazon themselves. Because of this, there are no extra costs or need for you to personally spend extra money when using AmazonSmile. After deducting the shipping and other external costs, Amazon calculates 0.5% of what your items cost. This 0.5% is then paid to charities from Amazon’s commission from the sale.
Aside from monetary donations, recent updates also allow users to donate items from the Amazon website to a charity of their choice. For this, you can look up the charity organization you’d like to support and add items you think they need into their cart. Amazon will deliver these items to your charity after you checkout.
AmazonSmile For Charities And Non-profit Organizations
Aside from customers giving donations, Amazonsmile is a platform that supports much up-and-coming charity or nonprofit organizations. To receive donations from the foundation, you must create an organization administration account. Select your charity by searching it up by name or using the EIN to proceed with registration.
To complete your registration, you will have to use your organization’s email address and contact Amazon to verify details and sort out bank information. Please note that Amazon will only accept your organization as part of its charity list if it is approved by Guided Star. You can find out more about the eligibility criteria, and to set up your charity on AmazonSmile by visiting org.amazon.com
How to Use Amazon Smile?
It is relatively easy to use. If you are using the platform through a web browser, you have to go to smile.amazon.com. After this, click “get started” to set up your account. You can register for a new account, or if you already have a regular Amazon account, you can log in using that instead.
If you choose to log in with your regular Amazon account, all your information, such as bank information and delivery details, will transfer to your AmazonSmile account. Furthermore, any items added to your cart or saved in your wish list will transfer to your Smile account.
To use the program through your phone, you have to download the Amazon app. After this, set up your account by signing in or logging in. Click on the menu option on the app, symbolized by three straight lines. Go to settings and click on AmazonSmile. After this, you can choose charities to your liking and make donations as you shop.
It is also important to note that you have to renew your account twice a year. This happens so that AmazonSmile can continue as part of the Amazon mobile app. This renewal issue only applies to the mobile app and does not have any effect when using AmazonSmile on a regular browser. You will usually be notified of renewals on your phone through push notifications.
Usually, the phone app will turn off the AmazonSmile feature of your Amazon app after a couple of months. To renew AmazonSmile, you have to turn the feature on again as you did after first downloading the app; by selecting “menu” and going into the “settings” of the app to activate AmazonSmile.
Selecting a Charity
Since you know how to set up an account now, you must also know how to select charities. Amazon has more than a million different charities that you can choose from. All charities are ranked as 501(c)(3) by the U.S. IRS code. Therefore, you can rest assured that the organization you pick is valid.
The charity you will donate to is selected when you open your account. While setting up your account, you will have to select any charity of your choice from a long list of eligible organizations. AmazonSmile will save your choice of charity in their system. After this, whenever you shop using AmazonSmile, a 0.5% donation will be made to the charity you selected.
Knowing which charity to pick can be confusing. Rather than going in blind, it is better to do some research to see which charities are dealing with matters that interest you. Consider the following questions to decide on a charity to donate.
- What Social Injustice Would You like To Fight Against?
Whether it be sexism, racism, or a messy neighborhood. Finding a charity that tackles issues you are passionate about is a great way of putting donations to good use.
- What Charity Organizations Are In Your Local Area?
What’s better than giving back to an area you live in? If you find the large number of charities listed on Amazon intimidating, you can try to narrow down the selection pool. This simplifies the selection process.
If you do not have a particular cause you are passionate about, you can narrow down your options by looking at charities in your local area.
- What Contributions Has the Organization Made?
Aside from your priorities, you can also look into the success rates of charity organizations. Look into reviews and read articles to get a better idea of how the charities use the money donated to them
You can also take a close look at the charity’s website to see what projects they are currently handling. This is a great way of figuring out which charity you’d like to support.
I hope this article has helped you learn more about AmazonSmile and how it works. Now that you are aware of all the basics, I am sure you will have no trouble in setting up your AmazonSmile account and get a step closer to making the world a better place.
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