Amazon Discontinues AmazonSmile Program Citing Impact "Spread too Thin"
Soccer Chaplains United received word yesterday that Amazon would “wind down AmazonSmile” as it is currently known for many non-profits around the world, by February 20, 2023. The email cites that the original intention was to make it easier for customers to supper their favorite charities but that after nearly a decade that “the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped.”
AmazonSmile purchases will be honored until the February 20 date. Additionally, Amazon has committed to helping participating charities with the transition by providing a “one-time donation equivalent to three months of what was earned in 2022 through the program.”
The only remaining support that charities in the what is soon to be the former AmazonSmile family can seek support is from the “wish lists” which detail an organizations needs. The lists for Soccer Chaplains United include: Chaplaincy, Community Project, and general Organizational.
Amazon’s explanation email reads like what is known as a “red herring.” The original intention of the program was for Amazon customers to support their favorite charities. But in the final assessment, Amazon has determined that their (Amazon’s – not Amazon’s customers) “impact was spread too thin.” If Amazon surveyed non-profits as to the help or value of the AmazonSmile program, Soccer Chaplains United was not among those surveyed.
It is disappointing to say the least, AmazonSmile, while not a barn-burner fundraiser for Soccer Chaplains United was at least a way that our supporters could passively support our organization (if they choose to) through their Amazon purchases. Our best year probably saw us “glean” a few hundred dollars from AmazonSmile. Not enough to live on, but sometimes helpful to cover a gap somewhere in someone’s giving.
A follow up e-mail an hour and half later did try to state how much of an impact Amazon hoped to have through their other initiatives — housing initiatives in their “favorite cities,” disaster relief, community food banks, and more. Not that these things aren’t good, but Amazon was already doing them. Perhaps the second email is a sign of damage done. I know I will be assessing my personal participation in future Amazon programs and offerings (Prime, etc.).
Soccer Chaplains United will update our donation options across the brand to reflect these changes in the upcoming months.
A copy of the two emails are provided below.
Dear charitable organization,
In 2013, we launched AmazonSmile to make it easier for customers to support their favorite charities. We were excited about the potential for the program and the impact it could have for many charitable organizations. We want to thank you for your partnership during all these years.
After almost a decade of running AmazonSmile, we learned that with so many eligible organizations—more than 1 million globally—our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen that Amazon can have a more significant and lasting impact if we invest in specific areas and focus our philanthropic efforts in the communities where our employees live and work. We’ve started to see the benefits of a more focused approach with our investments in programs like Amazon Future Engineer and our $2 billion investment in building affordable housing in our hometown communities through the Amazon Housing Equity Fund—and we will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we’ve seen we can make meaningful change.
We are writing to let you know that we have made plans to wind down AmazonSmile by February 20, 2023. Until this date, customer purchases made via AmazonSmile will continue to accrue funds for your charity as normal. To help nonprofits like you plan ahead, we will also provide you with a one-time payment equivalent to three months of payments based on what you accrued in 2022 through this program. The timing of this final payment will be approximately 60 to 90 days after February 20, 2023. We hope that this will help minimize the impact that this decision might have.
You will be able to continue asking for the support from Amazon customers in other ways, like creating your product lists.
We will keep supporting thousands of charities across the U.S. in many ways, and focus on the areas we believe can help create an even greater impact. Our long-term commitment to our communities remains the same: We are determined to help create a better world for our customers, our employees, and the communities we serve across the country.
Initial Email from AmazonSmile
In 2013, we launched AmazonSmile to make it easier for customers to support their favorite charities. However, 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.
We are writing to let you know that we plan to wind down AmazonSmile by February 20, 2023. We will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we’ve seen we can make meaningful change—from building affordable housing to providing access to computer science education for students in underserved communities to using our logistics infrastructure and technology to assist broad communities impacted by natural disasters.
To help charities that have been a part of the AmazonSmile program with this transition, we will be providing them with a one-time donation equivalent to three months of what they earned in 2022 through the program, and they will also be able to accrue additional donations until the program officially closes in February. Once AmazonSmile closes, charities will still be able to seek support from Amazon customers by creating their own wish lists.
As a company, we will continue supporting a wide range of other programs that help thousands of charities and communities across the U.S. For instance:
- Housing Equity Fund: We’re investing $2 billion to build and preserve affordable housing in our hometown communities. In just two years, we’ve provided funding to create more than 14,000 affordable homes—and we expect to build at least 6,000 more in the coming months. These units will host more than 18,000 moderate- to low-income families, many of them with children. In one year alone, our investments have been able to increase the affordable housing stock in communities like Bellevue, Washington and Arlington, Virginia by at least 20%.
- Amazon Future Engineer: We’ve funded computer science curriculum for more than 600,000 students across over 5,000 schools—all in underserved communities. We have plans to reach an additional 1 million students this year. We’ve also provided immediate assistance to 55,000 students in our hometown communities by giving them warm clothes for the winter, food, and school supplies.
- Community Delivery Program: We’ve partnered with food banks in 35 U.S. cities to deliver more than 23 million meals, using our logistics infrastructure to help families in need access healthy food – and we plan to deliver 12 million more meals this year alone. In addition to our delivery services, we’ve also donated 30 million meals in communities across the country.
- Amazon Disaster Relief: We’re using our logistics capabilities, inventory, and cloud technology to provide fast aid to communities affected by natural disasters. For example, we’ve created a Disaster Relief Hub in Atlanta with more than 1 million relief items ready for deployment, our Disaster Relief team has responded to more than 95 natural disasters, and we’ve donated more than 20 million relief products to nonprofits assisting communities on the ground.
- Community Giving: We support hundreds of local nonprofits doing meaningful work in cities where our employees and their families live. For example, each year we donate hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations working to build stronger communities, from youth sport leagues, to local community colleges, to shelters for families experiencing homelessness.
We’ll continue working to make a difference in many ways, and our long-term commitment to our communities remains the same—we’re determined to do every day better for our customers, our employees, and the world at large.
Thank you for being an Amazon customer.
Please remember that Soccer Chaplains United is non-profit, 501(c)3 and depends upon the financial support of individual donors and church partners to carry out our work of chaplaincy service across all levels of soccer. Our chaplains are not employed or paid by any of the clubs that we serve. Check out our Donation Page with all the different options. Or, simply click the PushPay (the big P or give tab) link below to make a secure, online, tax-deductible gift, or mail a donation to Soccer Chaplains United, PO Box 102081, Denver, CO 80250.