Recently my brother and I were looking online for something for Father’s Day (Sunday June 15th for you slackers) for our dad. Of course, we’ve been scouring Amazon and so my brother sent me a link and it started with http://www.smile.amazon.com. I was confused? Was this spam? A new website? So I did a little research and thought I would share it with you all here.
Amazon launched a new corporate giving initiative on October 30th, 2013. Honestly, I don’t believe it’s gotten the attention it deserves though. Here is their official press release, but the gist of the matter is quite simple. When you go to smile.amazon.com instead of typical Amazon, for every purchase you make through the site, the company will donate .5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice. Amazon currently has five “Spotlight Charities” which they are supporting that you can choose as well. They are St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Charity Water, Wounded Warrior Project, American Red Cross, and Code.org. I didn’t choose one of the Spotlight Charities and selected Philmont Scout Reservation instead. The site makes it very easy to search through more than 1 million charities and choose where you’d like Amazon’s money to go from your purchase.
Let me clarify that last sentence. You are not actually donating anything to the charity of your choice. Instead, you’re merely selecting where you want Amazon to donate 0.5% of the item’s purchase price to. Huffington Post has posted a great article on why this may be bad news for charities but as long as you understand that you’re not actually donating to your selected charity, it can be a win-win situation. The article cites Social Exchange Theory, and suggests that since an individual may perceive that they are donating to a charity they may not also make their own individual donation. Since Amazon is only donating 0.5%, it would take $10,000 of Amazon purchases for Amazon to donate $50 to your charity of choice. It’s little unrealistic that you will purchase this much annually, so I urge you to still donate to your favorite charities and instead of using Amazon Smile as a substitute of your annual giving, use it as an addition.
It can’t hurt to sign up. The website is an exact replica of the normal Amazon.com site. So, clear your cookies and from now on go to smile.amazon.com to make your purchase. In Amazon’s 2013 Annual Report (pg 36), they list their annual Net Product Sales at $60,903 M or about $61 Billion. If they have the same amount of product sales this year and all of them were made through smile.amazon.com that would come out to $304,515,00 to charity. If Amazon were a person, that would put them above all but four of last year’s biggest donor’s list released by Philanthropy.com in February.
Do the world a favor and type an extra word in your browser when you’re doing some online shopping.