The news that Amazon is ending its charity donation program, Amazon Smile, has created countless frowns throughout the nonprofit world, especially for smaller orgs that say the donations were especially helpful to them.
The move to shutter Amazon Smile was announced last fall, and the program will end its run by the end of February 2023. Amazon Smile started in 2013 when Amazon said it would donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to a charity of the shopper’s choice. Amazon Smile has donated over $400 million to U.S. charities and more than $449 million globally, according to Amazon.
So, why end it?
In part, this is a cost-cutting measure. It’s also an acknowledgment that the program didn’t work as Amazon had hoped. “With so many eligible organizations—more than one million globally—our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin,” Amazon said in a letter to customers. In 2022, Amazon Smile’s average donation per charity was $230 in the U.S., an Amazon spokesperson told NPR.
The end of Amazon Smile doesn’t have to mean the end of passive fundraising, however—and if you’re a nonprofit that benefited from donations through Amazon Smile, turn that frown upside down. There are several other ways to raise money through passive fundraising.
Here are ten:
- Include a link to a donation page on your website in your email signature (in fact, ask everyone in your org to include one).
2. Add a donation button to your social media pages. You don’t have to make a big ask, just a clear CTA that says Donate Now or Give Today.
3. Do an audit of your website: Do you have donation buttons strategically placed throughout? Be sure to include one in the header and main navigation of your website and maybe even the footer.
4. Include a recurring gift option on all your donation forms. This a low-effort way to turn a one-time supporter into a loyal donor.
5. Include a “partnership/sponsorship opportunities” page on your website that highlights some of your current partners and explains how your partner/sponsor program works.
6. Register as a verified charitable organization on Facebook so you can add a donate button to your posts or let your followers create donor campaigns for you.
7. Join the Roundup App, which allows donors to give to nonprofits by “rounding up” their purchases, donating their spare change to a nonprofit of their choice.
8. Create an automated email that goes to all new subscribers highlighting your mission and how to get involved with the main call to action being a donation (GiveWP integrates with email and CRM tools to make this easy).
9. Sign up on the ShopRaise app. ShopRaise is a unique online shopping program that allows nonprofits to raise funds when their supporters make purchases through their app, online mall or browser extension. Shoppers don’t pay any extra at checkout, but are able to earn donations for nonprofits simply by shopping through the app.
10. Check out grocery stores in your area to see if they have a rewards program where shoppers can choose to have a percentage of their purchases donated to the nonprofit of their choice, as long as they’re a participating partner.
Passive fundraising may earn you small amounts at a time, but like your folks probably taught you: It all adds up. If you’re interested in exploring new passive fundraising ideas, our fundraising and nonprofit experts at Firespring can help you implement them.