Why Shuttering AmazonSmile Was a Mistake

In 2013, Amazon launched a program called AmazonSmile as a way to make it easier for their customers to give back. Under this program, customers who chose to visit an alternative version of the online marketplace — AmazonSmile.com rather than Amazon.com — could designate a charity of their choice. Amazon would then donate a small percentage of their purchases to that charity. This initiative was what we term a “giving-by-proxy” program: Amazon was acting as a proxy for their consumers, making charitable donations in their behalf.

AmazonSmile contributed a tremendous amount to the collective good. The company reports that AmazonSmile directly led to half a billion dollars in charitable donations over the past 10 years. As more and more organizations are working toward boosting their societal impact, the success of AmazonSmile therefore highlights that giving-by-proxy programs may be a value path through which organizations can give back. But in January of…

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This article was written by Samatha Kassirer and originally published on hbr.org