A lot of people want to give back and help the world around them, but most don't know where to start. Charitable giving takes both money and time. If both are in short supply, you can end up feeling like you're not doing enough. AmazonSmile helped to solve this quandary, giving a portion of every Amazon purchase you made to a charity of your choosing automatically and at no extra cost to you. But Amazon has announced it's shutting down the program this month, leaving many folks wondering about other low-friction ways to give to charity.
If you want to continue your charitable giving while shopping, we've got good news: You still can! We'll walk you through various initiatives that are similar in spirit to AmazonSmile and can help plug the hole Amazon's service will leave.
And if you still plan to shop at Amazon primarily, there are still ways to use Amazon to spread some joy in the world, such as by using Alexa to tip your driver or sending surprise gifts.
Givebacks is a great AmazonSmile alternative and operates similarly to the outgoing Amazon program. Once it's set up, you can shop online (or in person) at one of over 25,000 supported merchants and a portion of your purchase (up to 5%) will go towards a cause that you care about. The service has over a million nonprofit organizations that you can choose from, and using the service doesn't cost you a dime.
Likewise, iGive donates a portion of your purchase to good causes automatically and at no extra cost when you shop online. It supports over 2,000 stores, including places like Walmart, Kohl's and Chewy, with over 135,000 good causes to donate to.
With over 7,000 merchants on board, Goodshop gives you plenty of ways to donate to the cause you care about, plus it also offers a bunch of easy-access coupons to save on whatever you're looking to buy. That's both good for your wallet and good for your charity of choice.
Shop via ShopRaise at over 1,000 stores and your favorite cause can get up to 10% of the purchase. All you have to do is start your shopping in the ShopRaise app (or use the web browser extension) and the rest will be taken care of with no additional cost to you.
Cashback services such as Rakuten (formerly Ebates) are super popular for eking out extra savings online, bringing you rebates that you couldn't have otherwise gotten. But why not pay it forward, so to speak? Such cashback services often offer ways to donate your earnings to charity, such as Rakuten's Cash Back for Change initiative that donates the change portion of your quarterly cashback payment to various nonprofits it supports while letting you keep the rest. If you're due $50.85, for example, you'll donate the 85 cents and receive the flat $50.
If you're working with a different cashback service that doesn't directly offer a charity option, you could always make the contribution yourself. Because, come on. It's like found money anyway!
You pay a monthly bill for your cell phone, right? There's no getting around it. But what if you could pay a competitive rate and support a charity at the same time? That's the idea behind Credo Mobile, which supports "progressive causes" and "vital activism."
Credo operates on Verizon's network, so you need a compatible phone -- or you can buy one directly. Plans start at $35 per month, which options for sharing data plans among multiple devices.
Unlike the other options on this list, Charity Miles isn't aimed at shoppers, but you might still find it useful while shopping. It's a distance tracker that converts your movement into money for any of several dozen worthwhile causes. Its goal is twofold: To encourage you to exercise and to generate donations based on your log of that exercise.
As well as running, cycling and hiking, Charity Miles can track walks meaning that you could use it during extended shopping trips to rack up a few extra miles. The only real challenge is remembering to use the app. Don't forget to activate it before you head out and then deactivate it when you're done. Plus, if you are an avid runner or cyclist, it's a good app to have on your phone.
And if you want tips on saving money while shopping, be sure to check out our guides to effectively using coupons, shopping clearance items at Target and getting the most out of your Costco membership.