If you buy products from Amazon (of course you do, you live in the 21st Century), listen up: Amazon has launched a new way for you to give to charity while shopping online. Called AmazonSmile, the program offers Amazon shoppers the option to have a portion of the money they spend on Amazon donated to a charity of their choice.
Enter smile.amazon.com, and Amazon will ask you to select a charity to donate to. 0.5% of the price of any eligible AmazonSmile purchases you make through the site will be donated to the charity you select. Choose from spotlighted charities like the Red Cross, the Nature Conservancy, DoSomething.org, St. Jude’s Research Hospital and charity: water, or search through Amazon’s list of nearly a million 501(c)(3) organizations for a specific organization to donate to. If you change your mind, don’t worry: you can select a different charity at any time.
The AmazonSmile site looks and feels exactly like Amazon’s main site, listing the same products as Amazon at the same prices. The only difference is that it demarcates products that are eligible for charitable donations. Ian McAllister, general manager of AmazonSmile, told AllThingsD that “basically every physical product is eligible” for the AmazonSmile program, but purchases made through Amazon’s subscribe-and-save subscription program and digital media items such as Kindle e-books are ineligible. According to AllThingsD, there will be no cap on donations generated through AmazonSmile.
According to McAllister, Amazon is not launching the Smile program in an attempt to score additional tax benefits or as a response to focus groups or customer surveys. The company is launching the program simply because it believes its customers will enjoy it. “We thought our customers would love it,” McAllister told AllThingsD. I, however, am a bit cynical: could AmazonSmile be a ploy to persuade on-the-fence customers to shop online rather than locally? Probably.
Will you shop at smile.amazon.com so a portion of the money you spend online goes to charity?