For nonprofit groups, securing sustainable revenue is essential to a successful fundraising strategy. The challenge lies in finding ongoing fundraising methods that bridge the gap between major annual giving campaigns and events, where donations typically surge. In 2013, many organizations found a solution in AmazonSmile, a program that helped them generate extra contributions throughout the year.
However, in January 2023, Amazon dealt a blow by announcing the discontinuation of the Smile program, effective just a month later. This untimely statement left over one million participating organizations grappling with the question of how to compensate for the lost funds from the program.
If your nonprofit is one of those impacted by the end of AmazonSmile or you’re looking for a reliable and consistent fundraising solution for your group, you’ve come to the right place! This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with actionable steps to finding and setting up the right fundraising for your nonprofit group. It will cover topics including:
- What is AmazonSmile?
- Why was AmazonSmile discontinued?
- What are some suitable alternatives to AmazonSmile?
- Crowded: An AmazonSmile alternative for nonprofit groups
At Crowded, our mission is to empower nonprofit groups to fundraise efficiently, especially in the face of decreasing donations. We understand the importance of financial stability in carrying out your vital work and have plenty of solutions that will help you kick-start your group’s fundraising and put your group on the right path to a healthy budget.
AmazonSmile ending: What was Amazon Smile and what happened to it?
Launched in 2013 as part of Amazon’s philanthropic initiatives, AmazonSmile allowed shoppers to support their favorite charitable causes through their everyday online purchases on Amazon without any extra cost to themselves or the organizations they choose to donate funds to.
For nonprofits, AmazonSmile offered a simple way to generate funding to help cover every day and overhead expenses.
Despite some drawbacks, like low commission rates (only 0.5% of purchases) and limited participation data visibility, AmazonSmile became a popular choice for nonprofit organizations of all sizes as an additional funding source alongside their annual fundraising efforts.
AmazonSmile cited its reason for ending the program as part of its intention to focus on more targeted charitable initiatives, such as disaster relief and affordable housing. While the decision was rooted in the desire to enhance their philanthropic impact, it left many nonprofits struggling to cope with the sudden loss of a significant funding source.
According to an official press release by the online retailer, the main reason behind the discontinuation was the company’s belief that the AmazonSmile program had spread its charitable efforts too thin. By shifting their attention to more focused initiatives, Amazon aimed to make a more substantial difference in the areas they were supporting.
Nevertheless, the response from nonprofits was swift, as many of them took to social media to share the positive impact AmazonSmile had on their organizations. Smaller nonprofits, in particular, heavily relied on the program’s funding to sustain their day-to-day operations. For them, the discontinuation meant losing a crucial revenue source.
Exploring sustainable alternatives to AmazonSmile for nonprofits
With the discontinuation of AmazonSmile, nonprofit groups have been actively seeking viable alternatives to sustain their fundraising efforts. Here are some potential options worth considering:
Crowdfunding: A crowdfunding campaign can serve as a quick fix to address the immediate fundraising deficit. It allows organizations to gather a substantial amount of donations in a short period. However, it is essential to recognize that crowdfunding should be seen as a temporary solution. For long-term sustainability, it’s crucial to explore other reliable revenue streams.
Virtual Events: Hosting virtual events can yield a high return on investment (ROI) and potentially become annual fundraisers for your organization. Utilizing online event platforms can also reduce upfront costs compared to in-person events. However, virtual events still require meticulous planning and might not offer the steady, ongoing revenue that AmazonSmile once provided.
Matching Gifts: Implementing a matching gift tool on your online donation form can be an effective way to maximize the contributions of your supporters throughout the year. While this option has great potential, one challenge lies in raising awareness among donors about the possibility of their employers matching their gifts. Investing time and resources into marketing this opportunity can help overcome this hurdle.
As you evaluate each alternative, remember that since the discontinuation of AmazonSmile, other suitable passive fundraising programs have emerged in the market, and partnering with one of them could provide a sustainable replacement for AmazonSmile. To choose the right program for your organization’s needs, research and assess the options to find the platform that aligns best with your organization’s mission and donor base.
Introducing Crowded: A passive fundraising program to replace AmazonSmile for nonprofit groups
Crowded is a new financial platform designed to simplify financial management for all kinds of nonprofit groups. It integrates all financial tools necessary to manage finances effectively for a group.
Our “shop to give” passive fundraising program presents an incredibly accessible option for nonprofits seeking an effective fundraising solution. With Crowded, nonprofits can swiftly create their own cashback website within minutes and share their unique link with their members, alumni, and all supporters.
So, how does it work?
When supporters shop through Crowded’s cashback website, 50% of the cashback they earn is automatically directed as a donation to the group they want to support, while the supporter keeps the remaining 50% for themselves.
This approach to fundraising motivates supporters to participate actively and empowers them to contribute to the cause with almost zero effort. Plus, Crowded provides a user-friendly dashboard enabling supporters and nonprofits to monitor and track their earnings, ensuring transparency and accountability.
Once your group signs up for Crowded and joins our fundraising program, your supporters can easily register for the cashback with their email, gaining access to thousands of exclusive offers at their favorite stores. This makes it easy to engage in the fundraising initiative while spending money at stores they already love to shop at.
The benefits of using Crowded as an alternative to Amazon Smile
Unlike AmazonSmile, which has a commission rate of just 0.5% per purchase, Crowded enables users to donate 50% of the cashback they earn through their purchases, with cashback offers ranging from 1-10%. This increase in donation percentage can significantly boost fundraising efforts and make a huge impact.
Moreover, while Amazon Smile is limited to purchases made solely on Amazon, Crowded provides users with access to cashback offers at thousands of popular online and in-person retailers, including major brands such as Walmart, Nike, and Lululemon, as well as travel rewards at Expedia, Hotels.com, and Trip Advisor. This wide range of participating retailers expands the fundraising potential and encourages supporters to contribute while shopping at their preferred brands.
To make things even easier, Crowded offers a convenient Chrome extension that allows users to view deals as they visit participating websites or search them on Google, ensuring a rewarding shopping experience that supports nonprofits every step of the way!
Level up your finances with more of Crowded’s helpful features
In addition to our passive fundraising program designed for nonprofit groups, Crowded also offers a wide suite of features to help simplify your organization’s financial management. We understand that managing finances for a nonprofit group can be exhausting, especially when you’re a volunteer. Our platform is specifically designed for groups of all shapes and sizes, offering financial features for individual or multi-chapter organizations.
With Crowded, you can handle everything from online banking, payment collection, expenses, fundraising, and even tax reporting – all under one roof, using our user-friendly web and mobile app.
One of Crowded’s helpful features is our digital banking accounts customized for groups, where any money your group earns through our rewards program can be securely stored. Crowded banking accounts have the added protection of being FDIC-insured, protecting your funds up to 250K. With Crowded’s physical and digital Visa® debit cards, you can spend directly from your Crowded account without having to constantly withdraw funds and move money between apps.
If you want to simplify financial operations for your group and set up a worry-free online banking account, please book a demo with one of our teammates to learn more.