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When You're Smiling

Big business has gotten a bad name over the years.  They help no one but themselves.  (Unless of course you are employed by them or shop with them or produce products that are sold by them—but I digress!)  Because of this, it's nice when we see big businesses giving back.  Usually what you will see is a big business giving big bucks to big organizations (that usually partner with the big business somehow).  Going off of the beaten path yet again is Amazon.  For some years they have had a wonderful program called AmazonSmile, and we'd like to tell you about it.

What is AmazonSmile?

When you shop through, Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to "your favorite charitable organization."  That phrase your favorite charitable organization always makes me raise an eyebrow.  Having a 501(c)(3) status doesn't always make an organization very charitable.  There are many times that I look over the list of what is supposed to be my favorites and come away unable to, in good conscience, support any of the organizations listed!

Not so with AmazonSmile.  They have a million eligible charities including some 375 local Albany, GA area charities!  Here's a partial list below:

  • Albany Area Primary Health Care
  • Albany Marathon
  • Chehaw
  • Flint RiverQuarium
  • Grace Way
  • Lily Pad Sane Center Inc
  • Phoebe Foundation

How does AmazonSmile work?

It's pretty simple, really, but I've outlined the steps below.

  1. Go to
  2. Login with your usual Amazon account
  3. Choose a charity

That's it!  AmazonSmile will remember your selection and give a portion of your purchase to the charity every time you purchase any of the 10+ million illegible products.  Here's the tricky part, you do have to start at as opposed to  The good news is that, if you forget, they'll remind you.  If you use Chrome (which you totally should) you can install an extension that will automatically redirect you to the Smile equivalent of any Amazon page.

How does AmazonSmile NOT work?

AmazonSmile is great, and I think you should use it, but you should use it properly.  When AmzonSmile first launched in 2013 it was criticized for being bad for charities.  That's because we as consumers always weigh things based on the cost:benefit ratio—even our charitable giving.  AmazonSmile does NOT work as an alternative to giving charitably on your own.  AmazonSmile works well as an alternative to just plain ole' Amazon.

If you usually give $50 to a charity, don't instead spend $10,000 on AmazonSmile with that charity selected.  That's NOT how this is supposed to work.  Instead, follow this paradigm.  If you usually spend $50 on Amazon, instead spend $50 on AmazonSmile and keep giving generously on your own.  

Next time you are on Amazon, don't forget to smile.