Should you bother with Amazon Smile?

Should you be promoting Amazon Smile to your donors?

Why not? It’s free money, isn’t it?

I mean, all you have to do is sending an email to your donors encouraging them to designate you as their Amazon Smile favorite charity. Then you’ll get .5% of their Amazon purchases amounts forever. (Or until Amazon cancels or changes the program.)

But let’s take a deeper look at the cost and benefit of doing this:

  • You know how low engagement to email is. A small percentage will even consider what you’re proposing.
  • Of that small group who pay attention to what you’re asking, how many will say “Yes, this is my favorite charity. I want to do this.” (Remember that other charities are also likely approaching them to do this.)
  • Of that group, how many will actually go over to Amazon and do it? It’s an easy decision financially (it costs them nothing), but they have to take the time and mind-space to do it.
  • Of those donors who made it through all of the above gates, how much do they spend at Amazon? Quite a lot, no doubt. But at .5%, they have to buy $10,000 worth to give you $50.

Does $10,000 seem realistic given the vanishingly small percentage of people who will make it past all those barriers, and then start spending at Amazon?

Was the amount of work it took you worth $50 in revenue?

What else could you do to raise $50? (I bet you’d get there faster standing on the sidewalk with a tin cup.)

For most of us, we wouldn’t embark on any project with a revenue projection that low. What else might be a better use of your time?

That’s how you need to think about free money ventures like Amazon Smile.

They aren’t free.

See a very helpful discussion of this at The Agitator: What Comes First?


Comments

4 responses to “Should you bother with Amazon Smile?”

  1. Agreed! There are endless different ways to ask your supporters to send money your way. But do you want to give them endless options? Especially when some strategies work so much more effectively than others? I’ve long been against throwing out a bunch of ‘nickel and dime’ strategies that result in donors feeling they’ve supported you with their purchases – when all you really received was pennies on the dollar. If you’re going to promote these strategies, caveat emptor. The last thing you want is for your donor to say “Well, I support them via Amazon Smile. I must spend $10,000 a year on their behalf! I give my other three favorite charities just $100 – $250 each.” Guess what? As Jeff points out, that $10K spent resulted in a whopping $50 gift to you. Yet your donor may feel you should treat them like a $10,000 donor. You see the disconnect?

  2. Agreed! There are endless different ways to ask your supporters to send money your way. But do you want to give them endless options? Especially when some strategies work so much more effectively than others? I’ve long been against throwing out a bunch of ‘nickel and dime’ strategies that result in donors feeling they’ve supported you with their purchases – when all you really received was pennies on the dollar. If you’re going to promote these strategies, caveat emptor. The last thing you want is for your donor to say “Well, I support them via Amazon Smile. I must spend $10,000 a year on their behalf! I give my other three favorite charities just $100 – $250 each.” Guess what? As Jeff points out, that $10K spent resulted in a whopping $50 gift to you. Yet your donor may feel you should treat them like a $10,000 donor. You see the disconnect?

  3. We occasionally post a link to Amazon Smile on our FB page. It doesn’t cost anything to do that, and over the last few years it’s brought in some money, not a lot, but every little bit helps.

  4. We occasionally post a link to Amazon Smile on our FB page. It doesn’t cost anything to do that, and over the last few years it’s brought in some money, not a lot, but every little bit helps.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.