Amazon Ends 10-Year Charity Program

Jeff Roman

Since 2013, Amazon has quietly allowed its users to donate a small percentage (0.5%) of their purchases to charity through their program AmazonSmile. Even though the percentage is small, over the years this has added up to more than $500 million in donations.

For some larger organizations like St. Jude’s, with a click of a button, customers have given nearly $15 million through their purchases. That’s not a small chunk of change!

As consumers, we can all likely agree that there’s something special about knowing that a part of what you spend is going to a good cause. But unfortunately, Amazon has recently decided that this initiative is no longer worth supporting. 

Is this the end of giving back??

Last week in an email to their customers, it was announced that AmazonSmile would be closing its doors. Why the sudden closure of a program that has done so much good?

In a statement, the company said, “the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped. With so many eligible organizations — more than 1 million globally — our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.”

Our question: Doesn’t every bit of impact still make a positive difference?

We’ve seen time and time again how $10 and $1,000 can both make a life-changing impact for someone in need.

While Amazon’s primary has never been to raise funds for those in need, they successfully provided a way for people to easily give to causes they care about — for the last 13 years!

But here at EPIC, we are firm believers that small can still make an impact — and it does every day.

So … what happens next?

Let’s be honest. Amazon has more than enough capital to put additional support and focus behind the program. But, that’s not the move they’ve decided to make.

Although AmazonSmile will end in February, the company is attempting to wrap this closing up in a shiny bow, by promising to continue pursuing other ways of making meaningful changes in housing, education and underserved communities.

Amazon also says they’ll provide charities that have been a part of the program with a one-time lump sum final donation during the transition.

But while another large corporation shrinks back from generosity, that doesn’t mean we have to. We can take this opportunity to seek out charities and nonprofits who are doing good in the world and invest in them for ourselves. Will you join me?