AmazonSmile Could be Easy Money for Your Organization

AmazonSmile is a program offered by Amazon whereby customers can direct .5% (one half of a percent) of qualified purchases toward the charitable organization of their choice. Admittedly, .5% isn’t much. A person must spend $1,000 for their chosen charity to receive $5. However, if it’s money they are already spending, then it doesn’t cost them anything more. Considering how popular Amazon Prime and Amazon Pantry are, there’s potential for easy money.

So how does it work? First, an authorized person must register your charitable organization. The process is easy. From their website:

  • Search for your charitable organization by name or EIN number and then select the organization you represent. Be sure to confirm you are selecting the correct organization, as many charitable organizations have similar names.
  • Create an organization administrator account and accept the AmazonSmile Participation Agreement on behalf of your organization.
  • Verify your email address (we recommend that you use an email address that is associated with your charitable organization).
  • Submit your organization’s bank account information.
  • Upload a copy of a voided check or bank statement to verify your organization’s bank account information.

Each quarter, the AmazonSmile Foundation will make donations via electronic funds transfer. AmazonSmile even provides marketing tools to help you spread the word to your supporters, such as links to customized landing page on AmazonSmile, access to a downloadable website banner, or widgets to reach your Facebook and Twitter followers.

For Amazon customers, they can follow the link you’ve provided or simply go to smile.amazon.com and select your charitable organization before beginning shopping. AmazonSmile will remember their selection and all future eligible purchases through AmazonSmile will result in a donation. It’s important to note that all purchases must be made through the AmazonSmile website, so customers should bookmark the location.

There are some possible drawbacks. Some worry that Amazon Smile could lower direct donations since people may feel they are already contributing while shopping. Also, Amazon realizes the tax break for the donations, not the individuals, because the donations are made through the AmazonSmile Foundation. Then again, the foundation bears the cost of all expenses. Others may feel conflicted about promoting a large corporation like Amazon over smaller local businesses. But if someone is going to shop Amazon anyway, why not do it through AmazonSmile?

This program should not replace any current fund-raising efforts. But the registration process is simple and Amazon has millions of customers so it’s worth considering whether this could benefit your organization.

If you would like additional information or to discuss the topics mentioned, please contact me at 317-241-2999 or ameko@greenwaltcpas.com.