Bad news for charities that use this channel as a fundraising option. It also doesn’t give them much time to get their houses in order either.
Charities across the UK already signed up for this programme received an email this month. The reason given in their e-mail to is that the scheme has not created the impact that they had originally hoped when they launched AmazonSmile 10 years ago. The organisation has stated an intention to continue to pursue and invest in other programmes that they believe will have more impact. They then go on to cite providing support to families in need, using their technology to assist communities impacted by natural disasters and other big ticket charitable items like this.
Whilst it is commendable that Amazon has intentions to use their investment power to support endeavours like these, it leaves smaller charities that depend on the pennies that come in through AmazonSmile in the lurch.
Bigger charities have fundraising teams, and enough in the coffers to pay out for events and initiatives to help them raise larger sums in return. Tiny charities are often run by a small handful of people, and rely a lot on the unpaid support of volunteers, and so this move by Amazon will disadvantage these smaller charities. In the current economic climate, this could also lead to their collapse.
We signed the charity Arts Derbyshire up with the AmazonSmile programme to help them gather a few pounds here and there whilst people shopped on the platform. The advantage of fundraising this way is that there is no extra cost to the end user, so they can do good without taking money from their own pockets to support a charity.
AmazonSmile currently donate “0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) from your eligible purchases to the charitable organisation of your choice.” So the numbers aren’t huge in the first place, which is why their statement that it hasn’t had much impact feels to us like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In the explainer e-mail they outline the range of partnerships that they will continue to support, including:
The emphasis for Amazon going forwards is on providing support for communities, and much of the support is offered through the shifting of stock that (if we were cynically minded) might otherwise end up in landfill (and as anyone who handles stock knows there are disposal charges and taxes associated with that). So this is disappointing news.
If you are a charity that has been using AmazonSmile and have missed this announcement, consider this a PSA. You might also be wondering what other ways you can raise cash with this door shut.
There are otherwise a good number of fundraising options, where lots of people will be aware of organisations like Just Giving and The Giving Machine. We wrote about how to set up a Give As You Live account on this blog, and have also set up Facebook Fundraising and PayPal Donate too. But there are other digital platforms out there, which can help you broad base the attention you can get for your organisation and increase your donations opportunities.
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