If you’re active on social media, and I pray to George Clooney that you are, you’ve probably seen a few tweets or posts about Amazon Smile this week. If you haven’t had the time to Google it, Amazon Smile is a new initiative where Amazon will donate 0.5% of your (the customer) total purchase to a non profit of your choice. It’s easy donating, a great way to give back this holiday season, and it’s going to be an excellent way for your non profit to boost its profits this holiday season. Cool, right? You wanna sign up, right? How do we get those donations, right?
Let me show you.
Amazon Smile for Customers
Amazon Smile is exactly the same as Amazon. The only difference is that instead of shopping at “www.amazon.com,” you’re shopping at “smile.amazon.com.” Apart from that it’s the same prices, same products, same payment method, etc. All Amazon has done is said “we’ll donate 0.5% of your total to a charity of your choice.” You, the customer, just have to choose a product that is “eligible for Amazon Smile.” There are over one million charities on Amazon Smile that you can choose from, which is pretty cool for the consumer, and apparently tens of millions of eligible products. Oh! And if you’re signed up for Amazon Prime it still applies. Which is awesome, because nobody wants to wait more than two days for new stuff. You use the same Amazon account that you use for your regular purchases and it’s just as quick and seamless as the original website.
Some things to note: you have to choose your organisation before making a purchase and because the donation is made through Amazon you are not eligible for a tax deduction. This is important for you to know, as social media marketers, because I’m sure that most people will be weary about using something new.
Amazon Smile for Non Profits
According to the FAQ, in order to be eligible for Amazon Smile you must:
- Be public charitable organizations that are registered and in good standing with the IRS as a 501(c)(3).
- Be located in one of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia.
- Not engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities
- Adhere to the AmazonSmile Participation Agreement to maintain eligibility.
So that’s great! I actually did a trial run for United Planet and it seems pretty easy to sign up. You basically go to this website to sign up with an account that’s registered to your non profit (don’t use your personal Amazon account). We actually already had an account with Amazon because we use Amazon Ads, so we’ll be using that account. They use electronic transfers to send you the money, and they are “transferred approximately 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter”.
Oh hey – here’s something really important: Customers can donate to your cause if you’re not signed up already. From my understanding, if you don’t register your non profit for Amazon Smile (and your funds aren’t claimed within a year) then the funds will be distributed to other registered non profits. So make sure to sign up ASAP!
How to Market Amazon Smile
Amazon Smile is going to be a crucial part of your “holiday” marketing campaign. Do a quick Twitter search and you’ll see that non profits are already tweeting out messages about donating to #amazonsmile.
It should be integrated into your all of your social media platforms, blog, website, and email marketing. I would suggest writing a blog post about what Amazon Smile is, or maybe even include it in your holiday email, and then ask people to consider donating to your cause this winter. You should only begin advertising with social media once you’ve explained what it is.
I’m not sure if you’re aware of how important Google+ is to appearing on search engines results, but I would absolutely make sure to post on your G+ account. When doing so, make sure to keep it visual. G+ posts do a lot better when they contain a picture.
Here are some other ideas on how to integrate Amazon Smile into your holiday marketing plan:
- A Facebook (and Google Plus) header with a CTA that leads to your Amazon Smile page.
- A blog post about the 10 coolest things you can buy this Christmas… With click through links to Amazon and your Amazon Smile page.
- For United Planet, we might make a list of things that volunteers could use on their volunteer trip. We’ve already got a Pinterest board dedicated to the topic so we might just draw from that.
- Use of the “#amazonsmile” hashtag. A tweet might look like “This holiday season shop @AmazonSmile and support XXX Fund! http://linktoyouramazonsmilepage.com #AmazonSmile”
- You could also start tracking keywords or phrases on Hootsuite like “I don’t know what to buy” or “Christmas Presents ?” and suggest that people buy their presents on Amazon and donate to you.
- Make sure to add pictures to your tweets. Reports have shown that tweets that contain pictures do a lot better than those who don’t. This probably has something to do with how pictures are now being shown on users timelines.
- A Pinterest board of cool things that you can buy on Amazon Smile that will donate to your cause. Make sure that the click through link on the picture leads them to YOUR Amazon Smile Page.
- You could also do this with your Instagram account (collages?) or Vine account (stop motion videos). Notice how a lot of these ideas are visual. Visual marketing is key!
Do you have any other cool ideas for how to integrate Amazon smile into your marketing plan? Let me know! I’d love to hear about any other ways that your non profit is using Amazon Smile.
If you need to do some more research on Amazon Smile in order to present the idea to your company here is a collection of articles that I found helpful.
- “Amazon Wants To Do Good With It’s Goods” – Tech Crunch
- “Amazon to Make Charitable Donations When Customers Buy” – USA Today
- “Amazon Launches New Charity to Give Back to Non Profits” – Non Profit Quarterly
- “New Amazon Program” – NP Tech