Amazon Smile Prime: The Ultimate Guide to Shopping for Good

As a savvy shopper and conscious consumer, you‘re always looking for ways to get the most value out of your purchases while also making a positive impact on the world. If you‘re an Amazon Prime member, you may have heard about Amazon Smile – a program that allows you to support your favorite charitable organizations every time you shop, at no extra cost to you. But what exactly is Amazon Smile Prime, and how does it work? In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive into all the details and show you how to make the most of this innovative shop-for-good platform.

What is Amazon Smile Prime?

Amazon Smile is a special version of the Amazon website that offers the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as the regular site – but with one key difference. When you shop on Amazon Smile, 0.5% of your eligible purchase price will be donated to the charitable organization of your choice, courtesy of the AmazonSmile Foundation.

To access Amazon Smile, simply go to and log in with your existing Amazon Prime account. You‘ll be prompted to select a charity from the list of eligible organizations, which includes over one million 501(c)(3) public charities ranging from national nonprofits to local schools, animal shelters, and community groups. Once you‘ve made your selection, you can start shopping as usual – just be sure to always start at the Amazon Smile URL to ensure your purchases count towards donations.

"Amazon Smile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you," explains the official Amazon Smile website. "When you shop at, you‘ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your selected charity."

The Impact of Amazon Smile

Since its launch in 2013, Amazon Smile has generated over $215 million in donations to charitable organizations worldwide, according to the company‘s most recent impact report. In 2020 alone, Amazon Smile donated over $60 million to US charities, with an average donation of $30 per second during the holiday shopping season.

While 0.5% may not sound like a lot, those small contributions can really add up over time – especially given Amazon‘s massive customer base and sales volume. For example, if just 1% of Amazon Prime‘s estimated 150 million members in the US used Amazon Smile for all their purchases, it could generate over $75 million in annual donations (based on an average annual spend of $1,000 per Prime member).

Year Total Donations Generated Number of Participating Charities Average Donation per Charity
2020 $60 million 1 million+ $60
2019 $44 million 1 million+ $44
2018 $34 million 1 million+ $34
2017 $27 million 1 million+ $27

Data sourced from Amazon Smile Impact Reports

Of course, the impact of Amazon Smile goes beyond just the raw donation numbers. For many small and local charities, even a few hundred dollars in extra funding can make a big difference in their ability to serve their communities and advance their missions. And for consumers, the knowledge that their everyday purchases are supporting causes they care about can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment that goes beyond the satisfaction of a good deal.

"As a teacher, I‘m always looking for ways to support education and youth development in my community," says Jessica Kim, an Amazon Smile user from Los Angeles. "With Amazon Smile, I can donate to my local school district every time I buy classroom supplies or personal items, without having to spend any extra money or time. It‘s a win-win for everyone."

How Amazon Smile Compares to Other Charitable Giving Programs

Amazon Smile is not the only way for consumers to support charities through their purchases, but it does offer some unique advantages compared to other shop-for-good programs. Here‘s a quick comparison:

Program Donation Percentage Charity Selection Ease of Use
Amazon Smile 0.5% 1 million+ US charities Automatic, no extra steps
eBay for Charity Varies by seller, up to 100% 83,000+ global charities Requires seller opt-in
iGive Varies by retailer, up to 5% 2,000+ US charities Requires browser extension
Charity Charge Credit Card 1% 1 million+ US charities Automatic, no extra steps

Data sourced from program websites and terms

As you can see, Amazon Smile offers a relatively low donation percentage compared to some other options, but it makes up for it in convenience and charity selection. With over one million eligible organizations and automatic donations on all eligible purchases, Amazon Smile is one of the easiest ways for busy shoppers to give back without having to change their habits or jump through extra hoops.

However, it‘s worth noting that Amazon Smile is not without its critics. Some argue that the 0.5% donation rate is too low to make a meaningful impact, especially compared to the company‘s vast profits and market dominance. Others point out that Amazon‘s business practices, such as its treatment of workers and impact on small businesses, may undermine the positive effects of its charitable giving.

"While Amazon Smile is a step in the right direction, it‘s not a substitute for more fundamental changes in how the company operates and treats its stakeholders," argues Rachel Davis, a consumer behavior researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. "As shoppers, we need to look beyond surface-level corporate social responsibility initiatives and consider the full impact of our purchasing decisions."

Maximizing Your Impact with Amazon Smile Prime

If you do decide to use Amazon Smile Prime to support your favorite charities, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to maximize your impact and make the most of your membership:

  1. Always start your shopping at to ensure your purchases count towards donations. You can bookmark the URL or set it as your default Amazon homepage for even more convenience.
  2. Take advantage of Amazon‘s various promotional events, such as Prime Day and Black Friday, to score deals on eligible products and boost your donation potential.
  3. Use Amazon Smile in conjunction with other rewards programs, such as Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card cashback or American Express Membership Rewards points, to double-dip on your charitable giving.
  4. Spread the word to friends and family members who share your values and encourage them to use Amazon Smile for their own purchases. The more people who participate, the greater the collective impact.
  5. Consider using Amazon Smile Charity Lists to donate needed items directly to your selected charity, in addition to your regular shopping donations.
  6. Keep track of your donation impact over time using the Amazon Smile Impact Reports, which show how much you‘ve generated for your chosen charity and how it compares to other customers.

"As a frequent Amazon shopper and longtime Prime member, I‘ve found Amazon Smile to be an effortless way to give back to causes I care about," says Mark Thompson, a self-described "picky shopper" from Chicago. "By taking a few seconds to select my charity and making sure to always start at the Smile URL, I‘ve been able to donate over $500 to my local pet rescue over the past few years – without spending an extra dime or compromising on product quality or selection."

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, Amazon Smile Prime is just one tool in the conscious consumer‘s toolkit – but it‘s a powerful and convenient one that can make a real difference for charities and communities around the world. By leveraging the scale and reach of Amazon‘s platform for good, shoppers can turn their everyday purchases into a force for positive change, one smile at a time.

Of course, as with any corporate giving program, it‘s important to do your own research and consider the bigger picture before diving in. But if you‘re already an Amazon Prime member and want to align your shopping habits with your values, Amazon Smile is a simple and effective way to get started.

So go ahead and give it a try – your favorite charity (and your shopping budget) will thank you.