Amazon Launches New Charity Site to Give Back to Nonprofits

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October 31, 2013; USA TODAY


This holiday season, Amazon is in quite the charitable mood when it comes to giving away money to nonprofits. Amazon has released a new project, Amazon Smile, which gives shoppers the opportunity to donate through the site to the charity of their choice. By shopping at instead of plain old, 0.5 percent of the value of their purchases will be donated. What’s even more amazing is that there seems to be no limit to the amount Amazon will give to charity, although as of now auto-renewed subscription purchases and digital products aren’t included in the AmazonSmile project.

Ian McAllister, general manager of AmazonSmile, says the company did it simply “because it thought customers would love it.” Donations will be made on behalf of a foundation established by Amazon, so those using AmazonSmile will not be able to claim donations as charitable deductions.

Charities looking to register their organizations can visit, sign up, and begin spreading the AmazonSmile link to start the giving to your nonprofit. And, in a moment of shameless self-promotion, if you’d like to support the Nonprofit Quarterly (listed under the IRS and GuideStar as the Nonprofit Information Network Association) through AmazonSmile, please click here.—Aine Creedon

  • Kari Reynolds

    I heard talk of this type of income possibly being considered Unrelated Business Income by the IRS in the future?

  • LindaD

    This type of income is recognized as “Indirect Public Support” to a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Unrelated Business Income is any type of income received that is not put back into programs of the organization.

  • Ralph Fusco President

    I recently started the above Foundation to honor my son Richard who passed Oct 25th last year. We are providing ipads to children withy Cystic Fibrosis. They spend a great amount of time in the Hospital. Last month we gave away an ipad to a child with C F at Massachusetts General Hospital.. We expect to give another one to a deserving Child Nov. 14th 2013…I can use some help as you know ipads are expensive…Please look at my sons Foundation it will give you a good idea what we are about. Thanks Ralph

  • Steve Fischer

    For Amazon to donate a paltry 0.5% to non-profits is a slap in the face to many independent, locally owned businesses who have a long history of providing goods and services to their communities schools, churches and libraries.

    As we understand it, Amazon uploaded a list of over 1,000,000 non-profit organizations; this is driven by Amazon not the non-profits themselves. I suspect many of them will be appalled to be on this list.

    A better name for AmazonSmile would be AmazonSmirk.

    Think Local, Shop Local. Support your Main Street businesses!

    Steve Fischer
    Executive Director
    New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA)
    Cambridge, MA

  • Deb

    I think it’s good to see a company like Amazon doing something good for the social good. A lot of companies don’t do anything at all. Even a small percentage is better than nothing. I signed up for Amazon Smile. I already buy almost everything on Amazon anyway so it’s not like I’m generating any new revenue for them. I signed up to support Veterans Service Center because they helped my Foster Dad with his mom and that really means a lot to me.

  • Tom

    Although it’s great to be able to support the charity of your choice through Amazon Smile, another business, Gift of donates at least 10 times that amount at 5-15% of the purchase price of their items, and unlike Amazon the customer can choose the charity of their choice with each product (as opposed to being locked in to only one).

    With thousands of items to choose from and the ability to personalize a great deal of the products, this season it may be a good idea to support a smaller business who has found a way to give back a lot more.

  • antony stewart

    Amazing is worryingly corporate and un constructive. big companies like Bosh were turned to philanthropic cooperatives at the death of their founders, but i dont think amazon founder has anything like that in mind. I wathched an interview, where he waxed lengthily about his emotional sadness at losing his grandmother who smoked, it was bizarre because it seemed like a textbook talk planned by a psychologist in order to humanise an otherwise insensetive person

  • Margaret Hasse

    Do we have any data yet regarding how many non-profits have signed up for Amazon Smile? Also, how much income for community groups has been generated thus far? What are some of the larger beneficiaries and how much have they each received? And, how often does Amazon Smile send out contributions? Quarterly? Annually?

    Questions, questions! Who knows the answer and is willing to share?

  • Katie Quintas

    It would be more helpful if Amazon’s “Wish Lists” that people put together were also available on Amazon Smile. As a nonprofit, some of our clients share wish lists of items they need. We promote these wish lists to the community, family and friends. Often these wish lists include items of need that they cannot afford because of a medical crisis of a family member that is straining their finances. We also do Adopt a Family during the holidays and use Amazon Wish Lists to purchase gifts for the families we serve. If Amazon was really committed to supporting nonprofits and the clients we help, these wish lists would be available on Amazon Smile, but they are not. Even if the items on the Wish List appear on Amazon Smile you have to log into Amazon Smile separately and look up the items and make the purchase with Amazon Smile. In addition, those items are not automatically removed from the Wish List like they are on As a nonprofit, we use these Amazon Wish Lists especially during the holidays for our Adopt a Family program. If Amazon was truly committed to nonprofits they would make this program easier to use. They need to either incorporate Wish Lists into Amazon Smile or stop touting their support of nonprofits.

  • Christine

    This is just such an amazingly paltry contribution. On $600 of sales for Amazon, that .5% contribution comes to $3. As a nonprofit director, do you know what I can do with $3? Not a lot.

  • Thurman Jones

    Great job on the Amazon Smile program.

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    Our vision is to have a building for after school, weekend, during spring and xmas break and summer camp for students can
    work on their career in STEM.

    We would like to call the Building the AMAZON Technology Gymnasium.

    Please take a look at our website which will give you a snap shot on Patriots competitions and programs.

    Thurman Jones
    Patriots Technology Training Center
    301 925 9350