Amazon Smile: The Free Fundraiser Your Non-Profit May Be Missing Out On

The Free Fundraiser Your Non-Profit May Be Missing Out OnIf you’re like most non-profits, you have day to day expenses, short- and long-term goals for the things you want to achieve. Meeting these goals, of course, means raising those funds. Choosing a great fundraising campaign, like Good Clean Fundraising, is a vital part of your non-profits strategy and brings in a sizable and welcome infusion of funds. However, anyone who has executed a fundraising campaign knows it takes a lot of work – and, of course, you can only run your campaign for a limited time before you risk total donor burnout.

The idea of regular income is wonderful for non-profits. While regular income will likely never replace the need for fundraisers, it can ease financial stress for your organization. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at a few ideas for generating regular donor income. Today, we’ll take a look at the increasingly popular Amazon Smile program.

Since it was founding in July 1994, Amazon has become the world’s largest internet retailer. Though it started out selling only books, the company soon branched out to sell, well, just about everything. Amazon even surpassed Walmart in 2015 as the country’s most valuable retailer, but they’re doing a good job of giving back. A few years ago, Amazon launched their Amazon Smile initiative to help direct some of their profits to the charities their customers want to support. It’s innovative and, if your non-profit isn’t already involved, you should be!

People who shop on Amazon can very, very easily choose to participate in Amazon Smile by just doing their regular Amazon shopping via the company’s parallel site, smile.amazon.com. If your non-profit has registered with Amazon Smile, customers can simply choose you as the recipient of the Amazon donations generated by their purchases. For customers, there is no cost – and very little effort, simply checking the box for your charity. Amazon then deducts .5% of eligible item costs, and sets it aside for your charity. For example, I used to direct that money to the World Wildlife Fund, and switched my charity to my local school’s PTO when they registered for Amazon Smile.

So, how can your non-profit get registered as an eligible charity for Amazon Smile? In order to register, you must go to the Amazon website and search for your organization by name or EIN number. You’ll then need to create an organization administrator, confirm your email address and agree to the AmazonSmile Participation Agreement. Please note that only non-profits based in the United States are eligible for participation. Because your donations will be deposited directly into your organization’s bank account, you will also need to upload a bank statement or voided check. It’s that simple.

The thing that’s surprising, and many organizations don’t seem to realize, is your supporters who shop frequently on Amazon may not even know your organization is registered. For instance, I ran across my local school’s PTO on the list completely by accident – but there are literally hundreds of other parents at the school, not to mention teachers, grandparents, etc. When you register, then, you want to make sure everyone who supports your organization knows. Put up posters, include it in your newsletter and tell everyone you know. Some people shop very regularly on Amazon, even “subscribing” to regular shipments such as diapers.

Amazon Smile is a quick, effortless and free way for your organization to direct more money to its goals and operations without costing supporters any additional money. Sign up is quick and easy and, as every fundraising pro knows, every penny counts.

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