An Upside to Consumerism

AmazonSmile It’s too bad I found out about this after the holidays: Did you know that with just a tiny bit of effort on your part, Amazon will donate money to the charity of your choice with every purchase you make? I’d heard something about this months ago, but I assumed it applied only to large, well-known charities, so I never used it. But a couple of weeks ago, I saw an ad about it in the newsletter of a local charity I support. I jumped online to check it out right away, and sure enough, the little local charity popped right up when I searched for it.

The program is called Amazon Smile, and it’s essentially a “giving back” program where Amazon donates half a percent of all goods purchased to the charity of your choice. The only catch is that you can’t have to access Amazon via rather than the usual

I forgot about the Smile program when I was recently placing an order, but was happy to find that when I navigated to before I clicked “Place Your Order,” the items were still in my cart and I was able to pick up right where I left off in the checkout process.

The program supports over one million charities. Not all items for sale on Amazon are eligible for charitable contribution, but tens of millions are. It will say so in the product information summary, next to the price and description of the item:       Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 9.32.50 AM

Amazon sends payments to charitable organizations quarterly. Those payments are an aggregate of all of the shoppers who have elected to have their purchase donations go to that specific charity. Shoppers can change their charity at any time via an easy drop-down menu at the top, where the name of the charity is listed. Because there is no cost to the shopper and all donations flow directly from Amazon to the charitable organizations, there is no tax deduction for the shopper.

Here are just a few of the great local charities supported by Amazon Smile:

Friends of Animal Adoptions – Animal Ark
Bolder Options
The Bridge For Youth
Second Harvest Heartland
Saint Paul Art Collective

Although I try to support local retailers whenever possible, I’ve found that some things are considerably less expensive, or considerably more convenient to purchase from Amazon. This is one way I can feel little better about doing so.

Check out and see if your favorite charity is listed there. If they aren’t, let them know it’s easy to register. They can find details here.


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