How to give back while shopping on Amazon
Helping others is one of the best forms of self-care.
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Amazon has long been a mainstay in our online shopping routines, but in today's world, many of us are spending even more time (and money) doing some retail therapy. Almost 39 percent of Americans report increasing their online spending since the pandemic began, according to a survey from the non-profit research organization Rand Corporation—so we might as well make the most of that experience.
At Reviewed, we're all about helping you shop but we're also all about supporting those around us. In the spirit of giving back and spending our money in productive (and charitable) ways, here's how you can shop on Amazon while simultaneously giving back to various charities, organizations, underrepresented communities, and small businesses who need our help—now more than ever.
1. Use AmazonSmile
The premise behind AmazonSmile is so simple it might sound too good to be true. Shop on Amazon as you normally would, and a 0.5 percent proceed of your purchase will go towards benefiting a charity of your choice. To start, head to amazon.smile.com. Then select from over one million 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations. You can change your selection any time by going to "Your Account" and then "Change Your Charity." Qualifying products will be marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product description page.
To activate AmazonSmile on your iOS or Android device, ensure you have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app, head to the settings menu and follow the prompts.
So many shoppers have taken advantage of AmazonSmile that, as of November 2020, all US and worldwide charities have received over $217 million and $237 million in donations respectively from kind folks like you ever since the program’s inception in October 2013. Once you make a purchase through your AmazonSmile account, you’ll be able to see how much money has been raised through your charity of choice.
Hot tip: Whether you’re buying or receiving gifts from a registry, you can still take advantage of AmazonSmile. Wish lists on your standard Amazon and AmazonSmile accounts operate in the same way, but only purchases made through the latter option will be eligible for a proceed of donations.
2. Buy from charity lists
Go a step further than AmazonSmile and shop directly from a charity’s wish list, which you can think of as a type of registry. First, make sure you are signed into your AmazonSmile account. Then head to smile.amazon.com/charitylists to browse by cause from environment to health to arts and culture. Select on a cause and choose from hundreds of enrolled charities. Once you select your charity, you’ll see a list of items to purchase and donate, with each item indicating how many are required and how many have already been purchased.
When checking out, select the organization’s shipping address so your purchase can be distributed directly to the families, animals, or staff and volunteers responsible for keeping the programs running. Note: Purchases made through charity lists are also eligible for a 0.5 percent donation to your AmazonSmile charity of choice. Win-win!
3. Support small businesses
It’s no secret that the pandemic destabilized an unprecedented number of small businesses, from laying off employees to reducing store hours all to stay afloat. Though nearly 43 percent of small businesses temporarily closed their doors during the crisis leading to a 40 percent dip in employment, according to research from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Amazon is working tirelessly to highlight small and medium-sized businesses who need us now more than ever.
To access Amazon’s growing selection of small businesses, head to the Support Small storefront. Not sure where to start? Check out Amazon’s featured small business up top, or narrow down your search by category (like jewelry, electronics or books). You can also opt to shop local by clicking on your desired region, from the Midwest to Rocky Mountains. To score some unique items with an authentic, small-town feel, head to Amazon Homemade, which is rife with handmade goods by artisans from 80 countries around the world.
What makes shopping from small businesses on Amazon such an intimate experience is getting to learn about the business owners behind them.
4. Shop Black-owned businesses
According to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the number of Black business owners dropped by 41 percent to 440,000 from February to April 2020 alone. To make a small yet meaningful dent in the lives of Black business owners, shop from their spaces that Amazon has uniquely carved out for them. Head to their main landing page, and scroll down to find your desired product from fashion to beauty to food. Can’t decide what you’re looking for? Read inspiring testimonials from Black CEOs, click directly on their storefront page below the text, and add whatever catches your eye to cart.
5. Support woman-owned businesses
When we empower women, everyone wins. Amazon makes it easy for you to identify woman-owned businesses so you can funnel your dollars towards them directly. Check out a featured brand on the landing page, read their CEO’s statement, and browse their inventory for high-quality goods. Explore Amazon Launchpad for an even greater selection of woman-owned businesses featuring stories of their inspiring entrepreneurial journeys as well as a link to shop.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.