Amazon Smile: A Window Into Indigenous Joy and Resilience

Smile AM

Amazon recently announced it was discontinuing its charitable donation program, AM Smile. Through this program, shoppers could direct 0.5% of eligible purchases toward charities of their choosing - effectively giving shoppers 0.5% back!

Nonprofits who benefited from the program are now disappointed that it no longer provides them with charitable donations from the company; yet research indicates that altering the program might have preserved its impact.

Indigenous Joy: Amazon Smile Revealed

Amazon's announcement that it would end its Amazon Smile program -- which donates 0.5% of purchase prices on eligible items to any charity of a customer's choosing -- in February 2022 was met with disappointment from many nonprofits, which rely on it for passive revenue from millions who shop on its platform each month. Promoting Amazon Smile makes tapping into this massive audience easy for nonprofits.

Nonprofit staff must spend considerable time setting up and marketing the system to their audiences before the donations can start rolling in - plus donations tend to be small - making the whole experience feel very long-winded indeed. Unfortunately, many nonprofits were given no advance warning of its end and were therefore caught off-guard.

Donations made through Amazon Smile are directed mainly at well-known charities like St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Wounded Warrior Projects and Doctors Without Borders; however, their financial disclosures don't include a list of all recipients, leading some people to speculate that NRA Foundation and other gun rights groups might also have received funding through them.

Though there were ups and downs with this program, nonprofit leaders largely see its value. They note how it allowed members of the public to show support for causes close to them while showing a bit more organization than was initially allowed - including by narrowing its scope and informing participating charities sooner about its demise.

Other experts have pointed out that Amazon Smile's decision was misguided, noting its far-reaching effects and greater influence than some organizations it fundraises for. Indigenous communities may feel particularly negatively about this loss - whatever their own perception is on this matter; its termination will have serious repercussions for hundreds of charities and their supporters alike.

Amazon Smile: Embracing Indigenous Resilience

Amazon may draw criticism for some of its practices and corporate culture, but the online mega-retailer's Amazon Smile program remains one of the greatest benefits of shopping there. Through it, customers can donate 0.5% of the cost of purchases to charitable organizations as part of the Amazon Smile initiative - although 0.5% may not seem like much, its cumulative effect can be far-reaching.

After two years of supporting this program, Amazon recently announced it would end the initiative by February 2023 citing donations being "spread too thinly."

Organizations would promote Amazon Smile in their fundraising appeals and supporters would automatically opt-in when shopping on Amazon. Court Appointed Special Advocates of Central Texas - an organization which trains volunteers to advocate for foster care children - expressed disappointment when hearing that Amazon Smile would soon cease operations.

Amazon Smile's cancellation comes at a time of increasing financial uncertainty for the company and rising costs, including pausing its warehouse expansion plans and canceling experimental projects such as its telehealth service and video calling device for children.

The company highlighted their increased focus on sustainability. Their vision is to become leaders in sustainable business practices and inspire their customers. Part of this effort, the company began publicly sharing its sustainability goals and engaging with stakeholders more openly.

As part of its Sustainable Development Goal, the company has introduced a goal aimed at improving health and wellbeing across communities worldwide. It's the first global goal to address maternal mortality, child morbidity, malnutrition and air pollution before 2030.

Amazon has set ambitious targets and joined forces with organizations that advocate for Indigenous rights and environmental justice. Furthermore, the company established a fund which will invest in solutions devised by indigenous people to safeguard rainforest biodiversity from destruction.

Unlocking Resilience: Amazon Smile's Impact

Amazon Smile is one of the easiest ways to donate to your favorite charities without breaking the bank. By redirecting you directly to Amazon's site instead of shopping for items, 0.5% of eligible purchases is automatically donated directly to the charity of your choice - at no cost or additional effort from you! It currently provides over one million options ranging from equal justice and animal rights protections, all the way through social activism campaigns.

Since 2013, when this program first started, shoppers could make small but meaningful donations to their favorite non-profits with every eligible purchase. Since then, over $500 million has been donated globally by Walmart through this initiative - however this year they plan on winding it down by February 20th.

Amazon Smile's closure comes as a blow to nonprofits of all stripes. Tenisha Taylor, executive director of a Chicago nonprofit that advocates for foster care children, finds this decision distasteful; according to Tenisha she believes the company was concerned its giving-by-proxy platform had become too extensive and spread itself too thin.

Amazon stated it would refocus on initiatives with broad impact, such as its $2 billion donation for affordable housing and homelessness prevention. Last week it also announced it would lay off 18,000 employees and close less profitable parts of its business; however, a spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that Amazon Smile would continue operating independently from this move by the company.

Amazon Smile can have an impact far beyond what the company realizes, with passive donations adding up over time despite being used only occasionally by its target audience. Though these contributions may seem small to some charities, organizations reliant on Amazon Smile for support may provide essential aid - the Learning Tree in Birmingham Alabama relied on it for support, receiving up to two thousand dollars every quarter through Amazon Smile which could feed an animal for one full year!

Amazon Smile: Cultivating Indigenous Spirit

Amazon may draw criticism for some of its business practices, but its Amazon Smile program provides one of the most compelling means of giving back to charities. When users sign up for it they select an eligible charitable organization to support and Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchases made on its platform each time someone makes a purchase on there - while these donations may seem small initially, over time they add up as millions of shoppers access Amazon's platform each month - giving many charities passive means of raising revenue passively from a large audience.

Unfortunately, AmazonSmile will soon come to an end next month as part of the company's move to reduce costs and focus on areas with greater impact for society, like natural disaster relief efforts and community assistance programs. Unfortunately, this decision may have repercussions for staff involved with supporting AmazonSmile or any other social initiatives at the company.

AmazonSmile allows Amazon customers to donate charitable donations by designating part of each purchase to the AmazonSmile Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization. Amazon pays all expenses associated with the program; furthermore, the company claims its goal is doubling the impact of donations made via this method - something which may have been achieved had Amazon targeted fewer high-impact charities for AmazonSmile donations; new studies suggest giving-by-proxy programs like this may even have indirect benefits of inspiring individuals directly donate directly.

As such, we believe the impact of Amazon Smile was greater than it had anticipated. The program inspired a generation of consumers to support their communities, and we hope the spirit it fostered will endure. We encourage our readers to continue supporting their favorite organizations; and encourage Amazon to relaunch a version of Smile in the future with more targeted charities and an improved user experience.


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