Amazon is now donating a percentage of the purchase price of millions of products to UK charities, at no extra cost to customers or the charities that they select.
AmazonSmile, the online retailer’s giving programme, launched in the UK today, four years after it was introduced to customers in the USA. So far it has generated $62 million for US nonprofits.
Opening to all UK charities from 2018
At its UK launch customers can choose from 10 major UK charities, including Cancer Research UK, The British Red Cross, and the Royal British Legion.
AmazonSmile will then open up “to all UK charities registered with the Charity Commission” at an unspecified date in “early 2018”. It doesn’t state whether this is just for charities in England and Wales, or that it includes charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland. But it does state that it will cover charities “small or large, local or national”.
How AmazonSmile works
For the donation to be triggered, customers must visit smile.amazon.co.uk. When they buy qualifying items Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price, excluding VAT, shipping fees and returns. The choice of charity is made when first visiting the site. You can change your preference at any time.
Amazon states that these donations are made at “no additional cost to customers, vendors, sellers or participating charities”.
Donations are usually rounded up and sent to charities approximately 28 days after the end of the following calendar quarter.
Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon, explains: “We’re offering a simple way for customers to support good causes ahead of the busiest shopping period of the year. Over time, we hope to see similar success here as in the US, where over $62 million has been donated to over 230,000 charities since launching.”
First 10 UK charities
But it also includes a few perhaps less well-known names such as Magic Breakfast and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity.
The charities are listed one at a time in alphabetical order, so British Red Cross gets featured as the default for every new visitor.
Rebecca Mauger, Director of Fundraising at the British Red Cross, said: “We believe small acts of kindness can make a huge difference. Working with AmazonSmile provides a new way for people to support the Red Cross, helping us reach even more people in crisis in the UK and overseas.”
Shop and give
Charities have been raising funds through online charitable giving portals since the end of the 1990s. These aggregate merchants, often several thousand of them, who will donate a small percentage of sales generated by charity supporters, into a searchable site.
Supporters can then shop for groceries, flowers, books, holidays, music, entertainment, insurance and much more, knowing that the merchant will make a donation to their chosen charity.
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