Amid a series of broader cost cuts, Amazon is winding down a program that lets customers donate to charities within their purchases.
Initially launched in 2013, AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of a participating customer’s purchase on Amazon to a charity they can select from a list of nearly 1 million eligible global non-profit organizations. Customers who want to participate can shop on smile.amazon.com. Donations are made at no extra cost to the customer.
In a corporate blog post, Amazon said the program has not grown to create the impact that it had originally hoped. As a result, the company will stop offering AmazonSmile by February 20, 2023.
However, Amazon says it will still continue other charitable initiatives it offers, such as its $2 billion Housing Equity Fund, and its Amazon Future Engineer program supporting computer science education across the U.S.
“With so many eligible organizations—more than 1 million globally—our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin,” Amazon said in the blog post.We will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we’ve seen we can make meaningful change.”
To help charities that have been a part of the AmazonSmile program with this transition, Amazon will provide them with a one-time donation equivalent to three months of what they earned in 2022 through the program. Eligible charities will also be able to accrue additional donations until the program officially closes in February 2023.
Once AmazonSmile closes, charities will still be able to seek support from Amazon customers by creating their own wish lists.
Amazon continues cutting costs
Amazon is ending the AmazonSmile program as the company pursues cost reductions across the organization. In November 2022, Amazon publicly announced it has decided to “consolidate” some teams and programs in the devices and services organization (responsible for product lines such as Amazon Echo and Kindle devices).
The company also announced a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in its People, Experience, and Technology (PXT) organization. As a result, Amazon said an unspecified number of jobs are being eliminated.
Earlier in January 2023, Amazon said it plans to eliminate just over 18,000 roles in 2023, with the majority of eliminations in its Amazon Stores and PXT organizations. These job cuts followed a recently announced hiatus in corporate hiring.
During the second quarter of fiscal 2022, Amazon reduced its headcount by about 100,000 employees, and CEO Andy Jassy said the company would scale back operations with the sales boom it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic cooling.
According to CNBC, AmazonSmile has generated about $500 million in charitable donations since its launch, with the average individual customer donation to charities totaling less than $230.