Campaign: Amazon Smile
Nonprofit Partner: Consumer Choice
Launch Date: October 30, 2013
BIg news: Amazon has launched a massive, transactional cause marketing platform called ‘Smile’. When consumers shop on the Amazon clone, .5% of their purchase will be donated to the charity of the consumer’s choice. The platform launched with 5 featured charities including charity: water, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, DoSomething.org, The Nature Conservancy and the American Red Cross but boasts nearly one million additional charities. Donations to charitable organizations will be made by the new AmazonSmile Foundation. There is no cap on the total donation amount.
We’re fascinated! For a company that announced a 24% growth in Q3 sales (to reach $17.9 billion), this charitable effort has the potential to raise millions for charity in very short order.
According to Smile’s general manager Ian McAllister, “We expect Amazon Smile to grow via word of mouth. We’ve tried to make this broad, simple and automatic for consumers to support their favorite charities at no expense to themselves.” Driving consumers to a separate, although almost identical, Amazon experience to activate donations will, by design, necessitate a heavy reliance on nonprofit champions who will have to decide whether, and how, to navigate this new potential fundraising channel.
Spend any time at the new org.amazon.com portal and you will discover the following:
- In order to receive directed donations, nonprofit organizations must register for the program, providing bank account information
- Charities must adhere to very strict promotional guidelines that include a prohibition of promotion “in any offline manner, such as in any email or attachment to email, printed material, mailing, or other document, or any oral solicitation.”
Could this signal a major shift for online giving? If the ‘Amazon effect’ translates to charitable giving, the answer is a resounding yes.
What do you think of Amazon’s power play into the world of transactional cause marketing? Weigh in below with your comments!