Posted by Chuck on October 6, 2019
Portals

Published on October 6th, 2019 | by Chuck

22

Using Amazon Smile for Charity and Stacking with Affiliate Portal

[Update 10/6/19: Reader was asking about this today, and it’s been a while, so I thought it worth reposting.]

Amazon Smile for Charity

Amazon has a program called AmazonSmile which donates a portion of your purchases to charity. After enrolling in Smile, you’ll select a charity which will receive 0.5% of your eligible Amazon purchases.

What I love about Amazon’s Smile is how transparent the program is. You get to designate a specific charity to receive the funds. And in your Smile dashboard, Amazon makes it extremely clear how much was donated due to your orders.

Most people have a charity or two which is near and dear to them, and Smile is an easy way to channel some money their way. It’s not just the big guys that can be designated as your charity. I ran a search and was able to find lots and lots of small, local charities in their database.

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 10.13.14 PM

smile $7.45

When using smile.amazon.com, each product on Amazon will clearly show whether it’s eligible for a Smile donation.

smile box

If you run a charity yourself, you can register to be part of the Smile program here.

How to Use

Enrolling in Smile is not enough to make your purchases eligible for a charity donation. Each and every purchase must be made through smile.amazon.com to trigger the donation.

If you’re starting a search on Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com. If you are on a specific Amazon page, it’s easy to change it over from an ordinary Amazon page to become a Smile page by adding “smile” at the beginning of the URL.

For example, I was looking at a laptop at the webpage: “https://www.amazon.com/Student-i3-6100U-Windows-Notebook-Computer/dp/B071CVCJGC/”. To change over the link, I stripped out the beginning of the link and added “smile” so it looked like this: “smile.amazon.com/Student-i3-6100U-Windows-Notebook-Computer/dp/B071CVCJGC”. You’ll then see a note on the page (picture above) indicating that the item is eligible for Smile.

Automating the Donation

To ensure all your purchases go through smile.amazon, you can download an extension/add-on. Here are a few options for Chrome and for Firefox.

Amazon’s own extension doesn’t really do the job (among other concerns), and I’d recommend instead the Smile Always extension for Chrome or the Smile Redirect add-on in Firefox. Every Amazon weblink gets auto-converted to a Smile link using these extensions.

Eligible Purchases

Most items purchased on Amazon are eligible for Smile donations. There are, however, some items which are not eligible:

  • Amazon gift cards and third-party gift cards (I don’t see the “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” note there; apparently they aren’t eligible)
  • Subscribe & Save purchases are not eligible
  • Purchases which got returned are not eligible
  • Shipping & handling fees, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges are not eligible

Stacking with the Portal

A question we get often is whether you can stack Smile with an affiliate channel. In short, the answer is: yes, Smile + portal do stack.

A few Amazon categories are eligible for traditional shopping portal cash back. Some people also shop through website affiliates (such as this blog’s link or another blog’s link) who get paid a commission on sales. Whichever one of these you use, it’s likely going through the same Amazon affiliate program called Amazon Associates.

Amazon states clearly that purchases made through affiliates are still eligible for Smile donations (“Amazon Associates may earn referral fees by sending traffic to smile.amazon.com or www.amazon.com”), and we’ve confirmed this with them directly as well. A report has confirms this works for using shopping portals + smile as well which is logical given that they probably use the same affiliate system.

How to Stack Portal with a Smile Donation

When you click through a shopping portal or affiliate channel, they won’t direct you to a Smile page. Be sure to add “smile.” to the URL, as described above, in order to make the purchase eligible for a Smile donation. If you’re using one the above-mentioned extensions, it’ll happen automatically, and it’ll automatically retain the affiliate/portal tracking as well.

Here’s what our Amazon affiliate link looks like, in conjunction with smile added on: https://smile.amazon.com/ref=as_li_ss_tl?tag=d09c7-20

Once you’ve clicked through an affiliate channel, there is a cookie in your browser which remains there for 24 hours. Even if you open a new tab or window, it’ll track back to the affiliate channel, provided that: 1) you are using the same browser, 2) you are not using a separate browsing session (e.g. incognito or if you cleared cookies), and 3) you have not clicked on another affiliate link afterward.

Adding Smile to the beginning of the link in the same tab or a new tab will continue tracking the affiliate, and you’ll end up triggering the charity donation without losing out on the portal.

Before making an Amazon purchase, be sure to check out our Complete Guide To Saving Money On Amazon (Save 8% – 25%+) to refresh yourself on the best ways to save and any current promotions.

[Related: Shopping Portals: Expensive Lesson Learned about Shopping In-Private Mode]



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joe
joe

oh nice i didn’t know that.

DanV
DanV

Great tip, thanks!

JL
JL

that’s very good to know. I always thought you had to choose one or the other, since you had to stay in the same browsing session, ie: adding smile to the URL would create a new browsing session. obviously 3x jb points > 0.5% donation. But good to hear that you can get both!

Sparky
Sparky

Do you always have to add the item to the cart at that time and checkout or can you already have items in the wishlist or cart and just checkout after clicking through the affiliate link?

CongestionCharges
CongestionCharges

I was surprised to see so many small, local organizations on the eligible charity list.

SkinnyElvis
SkinnyElvis

I signed up my kids school’s pto a few years ago. All you need is non profit status and it takes 10 minutes to set up. I am still listed as the admin so I see the pto gets 2-300 bucks a year from it.

BUT_WHY_MALE_M0DELS
BUT_WHY_MALE_M0DELS

doesn’t mean the organization actually signed up. i used a local charity and months later i got a notice from amazon that the charity never setup an account so my “donation” would be reassigned after i changed my selection.

email:

You are receiving this email because in the past you have purchased at smile.amazon.com in support of a charitable organization: *** (EIN: ***), that has not provided AmazonSmile with its bank account information and therefore we have been unable to issue AmazonSmile donations to this organization. We have also reached out to *** (EIN: ***) to request registration completion to enable receipt of donations.
Since you are currently supporting a different AmazonSmile charity: *** (EIN: ***), we will reallocate the donations generated by your previous smile.amazon.com purchases to *** (EIN: ***).

Minmin
Minmin

Does smile donate the money in the buyer’s name? If not, I feel like my purchase is just a way Amazon use to do marketing, upgrade corporate image and get tax benefits for itself. :<

AJ Edelman

Feel free to donate to Israeli Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation Inc to help me qualify for the 2018 Olympic Games! Much appreciated!

Ed

I’m wondering: if you stack Smile into the Amazon Associates links on your blog, do your readers’ purchases count towards YOUR charity, or THEIRS?

mbelsky
mbelsky

How would we stack smile with the JetBlue promo? Also, do you know if I have to login to my true blue account and click on the Amazon button each time or is there a direct link I can save that will track back to my true blue account each time?

Jason
Jason

They only recently began to allow Amazon smile as part of the Amazon app, which is a great new feature. Speaking as someone from a non profit organization. It will remember the non profit you’ve chosen and you’ll see “Amazon Smile” as the logo in the app.

Xandy
Xandy

How do you get Amazon Smile in the Amazon Shopping app? I’m on an Android, in case that matters.

George
George

Thanks for reposting. I remember you or a commenter mentioning that portals worked with Smile, but didn’t know whether affiliate links did as well. Good to know they do, as most of the stuff I buy is not eligible for a portal bonus – and your affiliate link is the only one I’ll ever use.

Steven
Steven

Just to clarify you don’t pay more even if you make a purchase at smile.amazon.com. You pay the same price but Amazon donates 0.5% of the price to your selected charity so I recommend everyone to use smile.amazon.com when you buy something from Amazon.

Kathleen
Kathleen

It seems rather silly to have it as a separate web address. Why not have it as one and just ask people upon sign up if they want to donate to a charity? <– Rhetorical question.

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