Amazon yesterday sent customers an email that read, in part:
"In 2013, we launched AmazonSmile to make it easier for customers to support their favorite charities. However, after almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped. With so many eligible organizations - more than 1 million globally - our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.
"We are writing to let you know that we plan to wind down AmazonSmile by February 20, 2023. We will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we’ve seen we can make meaningful change - from building affordable housing to providing access to computer science education for students in underserved communities to using our logistics infrastructure and technology to assist broad communities impacted by natural disasters.
"To help charities that have been a part of the AmazonSmile program with this transition, we will be providing them with a one-time donation equivalent to three months of what they earned in 2022 through the program, and they will also be able to accrue additional donations until the program officially closes in February. Once AmazonSmile closes, charities will still be able to seek support from Amazon customers by creating their own wish lists.
"As a company, we will continue supporting a wide range of other programs that help thousands of charities and communities across the U.S."
- KC's View:
As someone who has used AmazonSmile for years, I must admit that I'm disappointed by this decision.
I went back to see if I could find an email that I'd received from the program about previous donations, and this is what I found, from late October 2022:
This is the quarterly notification to inform you that AmazonSmile has made a charitable donation to the charity you’ve selected, Susan G. Komen Global Headquarters, in the amount of $48,138.82 as a result of qualifying purchases made by you and other customers between April 1st - June 30th.
Thanks to customers shopping at smile.amazon.com or using the Amazon app with AmazonSmile turned ON, everyday purchases make an impact. So far, AmazonSmile has donated:
$837,936.12 to Susan G. Komen Global Headquarters*
Over $377 million to US charities
Over $422 million to charities worldwide
I'm sure that in some cases, the donations are thin … but donations are donations, and for me, it just felt good.
It seems to me that this could be seen as a case in which Amazon is prioritizing itself over its customers, which is a cultural/perception shift for the company. Maybe in a vacuum it wouldn't matter, but at a time when Amazon is going through a lot of changes, this is troubling, and adds to a narrative about Amazon that does not serve the company's brand equity.