Update: Amazon has ended the AmazonSmile program.
As a nonprofit, you rely on fundraising efforts to carry out your specific mission. Raising cash is ideal, so you can spend it on supplies and the things you need to help the people you serve. However, not everyone wants to donate money to a nonprofit, especially online. Creating an Amazon wishlist effectively enhances your fundraising and quickly gets the supplies you need into the right hands.
Amazon created a special program dedicated to charitable nonprofits called AmazonSmile. This program allows you to create a charity list that buyers can search for and purchase items for your organization. Amazon sends the items directly to you. As a bonus, you earn 0.5 percent of eligible purchases in cash donations that Amazon pays out to each organization quarterly. However, your organization must have an AmazonSmile account before creating a charity list.
How to Register Your Nonprofit with AmazonSmile
Registering your nonprofit with AmazonSmile is a straightforward process that gets your organization's donation wish list in front of those who want to donate items. It also ensures you are eligible for quarterly cash payouts from the AmazonSmile Foundation. If you are an official representative of an eligible organization—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in good standing with the IRS—you can take the following steps to register your nonprofit with AmazonSmile.
- Visit org.amazon.com to begin the registration process.
- Search for your nonprofit by name or EIN and select your organization. Many nonprofits have similar names, so make sure you select the right organization.
- Create an organization administrator account to manage program information on behalf of your nonprofit.
- Verify your email address, which should be associated with your nonprofit.
- Enter your nonprofit's bank account information to receive a quarterly distribution from AmazonSmile.
- Provide proof of your nonprofit's banking information by uploading a voided check or bank statement.
Once you've registered your nonprofit with AmazonSmile, you can create an AmazonSmile Charity List.
How to Create a Nonprofit Donation Wish List with AmazonSmile
Once you sign in to your AmazonSmile account, follow these easy steps to create a charity list for your organization.
- Click the "View Your Charity Lists" Button and select the option "Create new Charity List."
- Edit the title, description, logo, and cover photo. This is a branding opportunity, but most importantly, it lets those who view your list understand your organization's mission and how they can support you.
- Click the "+ products" button to add items to your list. You must add at least three items, but Amazon recommends adding at least ten items to your list for better visibility to AmazonSmile shoppers.
- Change your list's settings from "private" to "public" so everyone can see your list.
- Share your list with your supporters via email and/or social media platforms.
Once you create your list, you can also take advantage of additional settings. You have the option to flag "High Priority" items. Also, let supporters know the amount you need for one particular product by providing a "Total Requested" number.
Making Your Nonprofit Donation Wish Lists Work for Your Needs
Depending on the size and mission of your nonprofit, you might use more than one list. Sometimes you have recurring needs throughout the year and, more specific one-time or seasonal needs. Once you decide on the things you need for your organization, you can create multiple lists to separate different types of items. Most items go to support the operation of an organization or serve as product donations that go directly into the hands of the people a nonprofit serves.
The following examples of nonprofit donation wish lists will give you some ideas for creating AmazonSmile Charity Lists that meet your organization's needs.
Everyone is familiar with Toys for Tots. They use Amazon charity lists, so supporters can shop and send toys directly to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. If your nonprofit serves children or families in need, you can use a wish list for a specific toy drive event. You can also use a list to take toy donations for birthdays and holidays.
Nonprofits who focus on wildlife conservation and caring for abandoned or abused pets use AmazonSmile Charity Lists to get the supplies they need to provide care to the animals they serve. This might include formulas, leashes, collars, animal crates, and more. The Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary in St. Pauls, North Carolina, has used AmazonSmile Charity Lists to receive cat litter and cat food to care for the cats and kittens that live at their facility. Similarly, the ASPCA Kitten Nursery in New York City receives kitten formula, gram scales, and enrichment items through AmazonSmile product donations.
If your nonprofit has a physical location, you need various operational supplies to carry out your organization's mission and goals. You can create a charity list for office supplies such as pens, paper, printer ink, office furniture, computers, and anything else you need to get the job done. The same is true of cleaning supplies. Whether a homeless shelter, animal shelter, or simply an office for coordinating activities, you can include bleach, floor cleaner, rags, mops, paper towels, etc., on your nonprofit donation wish list. For example, the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center includes paintbrushes, rollers, and trays for facility improvement on a separate AmazonSmile Charity List.
Nonprofits who directly deal with vulnerable populations, including veterans, homeless people, survivors of domestic violence, and those displaced by war or natural disasters, typically have a great need for personal care items and clothing. If you serve any of the above populations or another vulnerable group, you can use AmazonSmile Charity Lists to request donations for new clothing and personal items, including everything from socks and underwear to winter coats, snow boots, jeans, and sweaters. A New Jersey nonprofit, the 28 Days Project, supports the monthly menstrual needs of over 500 women. They joined a student group to do a 30-day drive with their AmazonSmile Charity List to receive product donations to create 100 care packs for high school girls who did not have the resources to meet their menstrual needs over summer vacation. Each pack contained three bundles of pads, wipes, deodorant, sunscreen, and a book on confidence.
Visit org.amazon.com to begin the Amazon registration process, or contact AmazonSmile Charitable Organization Support for help with your AmazonSmile questions.
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