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What is the Amazon Smile Program?

Amazon Smile. It’s like Amazon, but with more giving. IO Scout will help you to learn more about Amazon Smile program.

What on earth is Amazon Smile?

Amazon Smile is run by the good old Amazon that we know and love. The only difference between and Amazon Smile is that for every purchase you make on Amazon’s Marketplace, Amazon donates 0.5% to charity. And the chosen charity is something the consumer gets to decide.

Amazon Smile only launched last year, and with a mere eleven charities on board. This number has now risen to over 2 thousand charities on their books to choose from. 

When you browse Amazon Smil e, you’ll notice the items for sale which qualify for the Amazon Smile program, and not every single product for sale qualifies for charitable donations. 

The specified 0.5% relates to the cost of the item which is paid, and does not include shipping and handling processes, taxes, service fees, or the gift-wrapping service charges. 


How do you get involved with Amazon Smile?

If you are a consumer, firstly, navigate to 

Sign into your Amazon account from there, and bookmark the page so you are reminded to use Amazon Smile for all your future purchases. Next, choose your charity. Choose from all the quantifiable charities from the selection given to you. Over time, you can view your Amazon Smile transactions to see how much in the way of donations you have contributed to your chosen charity.  

As we’ve mentioned, not every product qualifies for Amazon Smile, and those which are can be identified by the Eligible for AmazonSmile Donation next to the product description in the listings. See the below image for further clarification about Amazon Smile eligibility.


You can also get involved via the Amazon Smile app, making it even quicker and simpler to donate to your chosen charity. 

Is there any cost to Amazon Smile?

Non e whatsoever, to the consumer or the charity. 100% of the donation goes directly to your chosen charity. Amazon Smile remembers your chosen charity, too, so next time you make a purchase via the site, you don’t have to select a charity again, it was automatically saved f or your convenience. You are given the option to amend your chosen charity at any time by navigating to your account and selecting Change Charity


Which charities are involved with Amazon Smile?

There is a seemingly endless list of charities that you can choose from with Amazon Smile. Some of them are as follows:

  • Stonewall 
  • Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity
  • Cascadia PTA
  • Austin Pets Alive
  • Heifer International
  • British Red Cross
  • Scottish Women’s Aid
  • Cancer Research UK
  • World Wildlife Fund 
  • The Macular Society
  • Scottish SPCA
  • Little People UK
  • CLIC Sargent 
  • Brain Tumour Research Campaign
  • The Trussell Trust
  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • Kidney Care UK

Getting your charity on Amazon Smile

If you are the administrator of a charity, and are not currently featured on the list of charities associated with Amazon Smile, but are considering getting involved with the Amazon Smile program, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Register here  
  2. Enter your charity information including organization title. Be warned – there are a lot of charities included in the list, and some of them are not dissimilar in name, so triple check you are selecting the right charitable organization!
  3. Go ahead and choose to create your own administration account on behalf of your charitable organization. 
  4. Approve the Amazon Smile Participation Agreement on behalf of your charitable organization.
  5. Validate the email address you entered during the registration process. It makes it simpler if you use an email address that is associated with your charitable organization.   
  6. Enter the relevant bank account data associated with your charitable organization.
  7. The penultimate step is to provide a bank statement to Amazon Smile. This authenticates your Amazon Smile application process, and gives them the details in order to submit your charitable donations through Amazon Smile. 
  8. Follow the steps to receive approval from Amazon Smile regarding your application 

If it so happens that your charity is on the Amazon Smile list, but not claimed by your charity, you can rectify this by getting in touch with Amazon Smile. If you don’t take that step, any consumers who nominate your charity as their chosen organization will not be able to donate, and instead the donations will be spread out amongst other charities. 

How do charities get donations from Amazon Smile?

The charities receive the donations on a quarterly basis, and are held in a holding account until each quarter is up. The monies are sent via BACS payment, directly to the charity bank account. Usually, this takes around 45 days for donations to appear in the charity bank account. 

Is Amazon Smile good for charities?

There are opinions out there that state that due to consumers ensuring their 0.5% donation to charity through Amazon Smile, they would therefore not make usual charitable donations. This is one school of thought, however this does not apply to every consumer. And Amazon Smile could work well indeed for those consumers who currently do not donate at all to any charities. This passive access to donating is successful on this particular platform, according to Amazon Smile.

One of the downsides of donating in this way, instead of, say, a direct charitable donation to the charity of your choice, is that your chosen charity is not aware of the donor’s details, and therefore do not have contact information to say thank you for the donation. Charities rely on donor details in order to keep them informed about events and news, thereby increasing the amount of donations they could potentially expect to receive in the future. 

What about Amazon Smile for Amazon Merchants?

On the other side of the coin, it is worth exploring how the Amazon Smile program works for merchants who sell on Amazon’s Marketplace. 

Typically, if you are an Amazon merchant wishing to be involved with charitable donations, it can be awfully time-consuming, time which probably would be better spent on your own business activities!

Happily enough, with the Amazon Smile program, Amazon takes care of this aspect for you. Your own item listings can routinely be matched with Amazon Smile. 

Amazon Smile as a Marketing Tool 

It is very on trend for businesses to be making a splash about social economic impact. You can use this to your advantage by marketing to your customers about being a part of the Amazon Smile scheme. No profits were harmed in the making of this article!

In essence, your message is: “my business is making a definite transformation”, and you can emphasize this message by demonstrating that you are going to be part of donating monies to charitable organizations. You can utilize your Amazon Smile item links for your digital marketing to this effect. 

Your consumers will very much applaud the fact that your Amazon business is jumping on board with the social impact movement, and be glad that their values are the same as yours. This will strongly encourage brand loyalty, which in turn, may elevate your sales. 

Other Ways you can Donate to Charity

As well as Amazon Smile as a worthwhile scheme, Amazon has another method in which you can make charitable contributions. And that is through Alexa.

“Alexa, I want to make a donation” is the phrase you can use into your home device. You will then be given the choice of charity to donate to. At this present moment in time, there are a few hundred charitable organisations to choose from, with the list growing. Then it is simply a case of requesting your donation figure, and Amazon Alexa takes care of the rest for you. 

For your information, just some of these organisations you can donate to through Amazon Alexa are as follows ( and you can find the full list, here ):

  • Anime for Humanity
  • 30 For The Kids Inc
  • 1UpOnCancer
  • Cancer Research Institute INC
  • Children’s Miracle Network
  • A Kid Again
  • American Cancer Society
  • AIDS Foundation of Chicago
  • Arts Council
  • Anera
  • CDC Foundation
  • Providence House
  • Qweerty Games
  • Project Chimps
  • Project AWARE Foundation
  • Central Little League
  • Child Foundation
  • City Harvest
  • Magic Wheelchair
  • World Animal Protection
  • Wikimedia Foundation
  • The Water Project
  • The Highlights Foundation
  • Comic Relief Inc
  • Jewish National Fund
  • Healing Hands Ministries
  • Hendrix College
  • Plymouth Housing
  • NutritionFacts
  • American Red Cross
  • The Empty Stocking Fund
  • Salvation Army USA
  • SEE International
  • River Radio Ministries
  • Net Impact
  • Movember Foundation
  • NPLB Outdoors
  • 1,000 Dreams Fund
  • Mercy Medical Angels
  • MindsEye Radio
  • Epilepsy Foundation of America
  • FareStart Org
  • Feeding America
  • American Heart Association
  • NPR
  • Best Friends Animal Society
  • Soles4Souls
  • Make-A-Wish Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana
  • Action Against Hunger USA
  • African Wildlife Foundation
  • DonorsChoose
  • St. Mary’s Center
  • Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • Seattle Children’s Theatre
  • Team Rubicon
  • Wounded Warrior Project 
  • Crush Foundation
  • Convoy of Hope

For charities to obtain donations through Amazon Alexa, there is a requirement to be registered with Amazon Pay, and in fact the processing costs for charities are significantly less than sellers using Amazon Pay, so essentially the charitable donation you give mainly goes to the charity, and less to processing fees associated with the transaction. The processing costs involved for Amazon Pay are currently 2.2% + $0.30 as an authorization cost. 

From the date of registering as a charity on Amazon Pay, it only takes two weeks in which the chosen charity obtains their charitable donations. 

What about Tax Relief?

If you choose to donate to charity through this method of Amazon Alexa/Amazon Pay, make sure you receive a tax receipt from the charity itself, as Amazon do not supply tax receipts. This way, you can ensure you can claim tax relief through your charitable donation. 

Tax Benefits 

If you are wishing to be able to deduct tax through your charitable donation using the Amazon Alexa/Amazon Pay method, it is essential that you itemize completely the donation details. The charitable contribution is deducted in the year in which it has been funded. 

Charitable donations are usually not restricted to limits, that is if in the situation whereby you donate over and above 20% of your gross salary. However, under the new tax regulations, if it so happens that the donation is given to a public charity, then the deduction is restricted to 60% of your donation base.  

Charitable Donations Stats

As of latest figures, charitable donations were at $410 billion in the US. And this number continues to rise as the years go on. This is probably due to the social and economic impact of social media and charities in the spotlight, and perhaps some of the work done by Amazon Smile could contribute to these statistics. Year on year, there has been an elevation of 5.2% in donations to charitable organizations. 

There were only three years in US history that negated to make an impact on the increase of charitable donations, and these three years were:

  • 1987
  • 2008
  • 2009

Individual persons are responsible for most of the giving to charitable organisations, and this fact remains the same, year on year. The figure currently stands at $286 billion donated by individuals in the USA. 

Ten Highly Rated Charities Funded by Private Contributions in the US

  1. Grand Teton National Park Foundation 
  2. George Snow Scholarship Fund Inc.
  3. Amigos for Christ
  4. The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research
  5. Operation Second Chance
  6. Orphan Train
  7. Hope for Haiti’s Children
  8. Sankara Eye Foundation, USA
  9. Acadia Center
  10. Rainforest Trust

Ten Greatest Commonly Seen Charities in the US

  1. Equal Justice Initiative
  2. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  3. American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
  4. Southern Poverty Law Center
  5. ALSAC – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  6. Save the Children
  7. Wounded Warrior Project
  8. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  10. International Fellowship of Christians and Jews 


Does Amazon remind you to switch to Amazon Smile?

Yes. There are frequent reminders if consumers have previously logged into Amazon Smile to switch from 

How many users are on Amazon Smile?

On a monthly basis, there are approximately 1 million users.

Are Amazon Smile Contributions subject to tax?

No, Amazon Smile charity contributions are not tax-deductible by the customer. 

Are there any downsides to Amazon Smile?

Cynics claim that 0.5% is hardly worth donating. But others are of the opinion that some donations are better than no donations. 

What are Spotlight Charities?

These are a list of charities that are featured as a highlight, offering them to consumers as charities to choose from. 

What about Subscribe and Save?

Purchases that are made via the medium of the Subscribe and Save feature on Amazon do not qualify for charity donations from Amazon Smile.

How much in the way of donations has Amazon Smile accrued?

At the time of writing, Amazon Smile has amassed over $134,000,000 in donations. A figure not to be sniffed at!

How do I go about initiating AmazonSmile on the Amazon Shopping app?

For Android users with versions later than 5.0 or iOS uses with devices with version 12 or later, can navigate to Amazon Smile in their Settings tab. After that, it is simply a case of proceeding through the application. 

Can Amazon Smile be used in conjunction with Amazon Prime?

Yes, it can. The exact same Amazon Prime service that customers are used to behaves in conjunction with the Amazon Smile sister website. 

How can I check if I am on the right platform?

When you browse Amazon Smile, you will notice the Amazon Smile logo towards the corner of the web page. There will also be some content explaining which charitable organization your charitable donation will be sent to when you purchase the eligible Amazon Smile items.  

Stats Surrounding Amazon Smile Charitable Donations in the UK

To give an idea of the kind of figures involved with being registered as a charity who is part of the Amazon Smile Program, these are the numbers so far:

Charitable Organization

Donations in the last quarter

Total Donations to Date

UN Women’s National Committee UK



British Red Cross



The Macular Society



Scottish SPCA




The Amazon Smile ethos in essence, is a great one. And one which makes it simple for us all to donate to charity, for free, in an easy way. It’s a platform which works, as it banks on the fact that consumers are already shopping on Amazon, so all they need to do is switch from to and there aren’t even any pesky new login details to remember, as all your information is carried over from the initial Amazon website. 

Any charity donations made are made best in a straightforward manner, with no friction, to make the most of the opportunity presented. And it is definitely a step in the right direction where donation to charity is concerned.