CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Amazon recently announced the end of its AmazonSmile program, which donates a portion of each sale to a charity of the shopper’s choosing.
In the Charlotte area, more than 100 nonprofits benefit from this program.
When shoppers use www.smile.amazon.com, rather than the regular Amazon site, they get to choose a charity to which Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of each purchase at no cost to the shopper.
Amazon has donated $400 million to more than one million charities in the past ten years through the Smile program. Even still, they say it hasn’t had the large-scale impact they hoped it would; instead, they want to spend more energy giving back to programs with “greater impact.”
Wildlife Rescue of Charlotte is one of the local charities that benefit from AmazonSmile. Founder Whitney Bruce says 10 percent of her nonprofit’s quarterly income comes from the service.
“We’re 100 percent donation based. We don’t get any funding from the state or government agencies,” she said.
In a letter sent to all AmazonSmile charities, the company said, in part, “After almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped. With so many eligible organizations – more than one million globally – our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.”
But nonprofit leaders like Bruce say getting rid of the program will negatively impact the smaller organizations that rely on it.
“I guess the point that they’re missing is that they were making small impacts to a lot of different nonprofits rather than a huge impact to just a few nonprofits,” she said.
Bruce said Wildlife Rescue of Charlotte brings in about 400 dollars annually from AmazonSmile. It may not sound like much, but that money could pay for surgery for an injured animal or a couple of years’ worth of medicine.
Instead, Amazon says they’ll give back to the community differently, focusing mainly on in-house initiatives and larger charity organizations.
“I think it’s counterintuitive because the bigger organizations already get a lot of donations. They’ve got the manpower to hustle and beg for those donations, whereas the smaller organizations like us, it’s just one person literally doing everything,” Bruce said.
AmazonSmile’s final day is Feb. 20. Meanwhile, the company says they’ll make a one-time donation to each Smile charity equivalent to three months of what they earned last year.