AmazonSmile is Shutting Down- Here are Our Thoughts and What We're Doing
Amazon announced that they are shutting down their philanthropic program, AmazonSmile. This shutdown is happening amidst broader cost-cutting efforts and massive layoffs that the company has enacted in recent months. AmazonSmile was a charity program that began in 2013 and enabled customers to choose a charity of their choice to support on purchases, wherein Amazon was the donor of funds to the charitable organization.
Throughout the duration of the program, AmazonSmile donated close to $500 million to support various nonprofit organizations. In an email issued to their AmazonSmile program users, they shared,
"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 1 million globally - our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin."
Amazon shared that they will continue to invest in areas where it can "make meaningful change", such as natural disaster relief, affordable housing initiatives, and community assistance programs.
So what does all of this mean for nonprofit organizations who will now need to fill a void in their fundraising efforts? And what does this mean for the future of commerce-focused donation programs?
AmazonSmile's Impact on Cause Marketing
The modern consumer is no longer making purchase decisions solely based on price-- they're prioritizing their values and are choosing to support brands and products that do the same. Data shows that 71% of Millennials are even willing to pay more for a product if they know that some of the proceeds benefit a charitable cause.
At its creation, the AmazonSmile program led the way in involving customers more deeply into the corporate giving process. As we move further into the era of purpose-driven commerce, consumers are not only expecting brands to prioritize impact, but they're looking for brands who provide transparency into their corporate giving initiatives. Removing consumers from the donation process can tarnish brand trust, and drive them to explore other options.
Consumers have become accustomed to the AmazonSmile model of corporate giving. The ability to take part in making a donation through online purchases, and feeling satisfied knowing that their purchase made an impact creates a much more emotionally connected purchase experience. While Amazon is shutting down their AmazonSmile program, there are still thousands of brands who have adopted this model of charitable giving, and will continue to create engaging moments with their customers through impact.
How ShoppingGives Fills this New Void in Commerce Fundraising
ShoppingGives is enabling brands to prioritize impact while creating a more loyal community of customers. Similar to the AmazonSmile model of giving, brands are able to create more engaging purchase experiences by integrating impact throughout their entire customer journey.
With the ability to empower customers to support a cause of their choice, and to fund the donation on behalf of the customer, ShoppingGives' merchant partners are able to follow a similar giving model as AmazonSmile, but in a more impactful way. Through ShoppingGives, brands can integrate impact throughout their entire customer journey to create more engaging moments at every touch point. And nonprofits can feel confident knowing that ShoppingGives covers all cause marketing compliance so brands can give back with ease, while their nonprofit receives 100% of funds in a timely manner.
With the current economic downturn and uncertainty in the market, companies like Amazon may be tempted to or are planning to cut their charitable giving programs, but ShoppingGives has seen that companies who prioritize impact during turbulent times are perceived more favorably by consumers over their competitors.
During the height of the pandemic, consumers looked to brands to take the lead on enacting societal change and supporting our communities. Consumers are more likely to support purpose-driven brands, and Deloitte even reported that purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow on average 3X faster than their competitors, achieving higher employee and customer satisfaction at the same time.
Giving back isn't just good for consumer perception, it's also good for the bottom-line. In an analysis done by ShoppingGives, it was found that the average order value (AOV) for businesses who give back grew by 22% in 2021. ShoppingGives' merchant partners have also seen that prioritizing social impact throughout their marketing funnel has the power to increase conversion rates and drive increased sales.
During times of uncertainty, it's more important than ever for brands to lead with their values and incorporate social good into their business.
What Can You Do?
- Continue or start prioritizing impact. Conscious commerce is a growing movement that is here to stay, and as more consumers prioritize impact, leading with purpose is going to be a key pillar for consumers when choosing which brands to support.
- Explore fully-managed donation programs like ShoppingGives for your business to seamlessly create impact on purchases and actions.
- Make a commitment to being transparent and involving your customers in your giving efforts. Consumers are becoming more weary of the impact that brands have on society, so giving your customers a more in-depth understanding of your giving efforts can help build stronger loyalty and trust.
- First of all, remove any copy about AmazonSmile from your website. Get creative with offerings for supporters to make an impact while they shop to fill the void of AmazonSmile no longer being a fundraising channel.
- Form brand partnerships to connect with companies who share similar values as you to maximize fundraising opportunities.
- Partner with ShoppingGives to drive charitable impact to your organization. Our technology captures the designated nonprofit beneficiaries selected by our brand partners or their customers, and the ShoppingGives Foundation (EIN 83-1352270), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity, distributes grants to the designated beneficiaries. This makes it simple for your nonprofit to receive funds raised on our platform in a timely manner, with no fees taken from the amount. Once your organization is set up with ShoppingGives, we will provide you with a badge to display our partnership on your website, similar to the AmazonSmile badge.