Amazon Online

How can I ease my conscience while shopping on Amazon?

Shop with a smile: Amazon;'s charity scheme is now in the UK

With temptations such as Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day, many of us will momentarily ‘forget’ Amazon’s relaxed attitude to paying taxes and spend heavily on the site. Wouldn’t it be great if we could ease our conscience and channel some of that revenue to charity? Well, Amazon has brought its Smile scheme to the UK, letting shoppers do just that.

The idea is simple – you sign up and designate a charity that you’d like money to go to. Then you go to a special URL, which to all purposes looks like the standard Amazon site (yes, the prices are the same), and you spend as you would normally. But now, 0.5% of all your expenditure goes to the charity of your choice. Yes, it’s only 0.5% but, as another retailer says, “every little helps”!

How to Sign-up for AmazonSmile

  • Choose the charity that you’d like to represent – there are 10 in total to choose from and Amazon promises that more will be added in future (don’t worry, you can change your choice any time in the future). Click the ‘Select and start shopping’ button to continue.
  • That button may have said ‘Start shopping’ but there’s an additional ‘hoop’ to jump through first. Okay, it’s just a tick box, but once done you now click on another button named ‘Start Shopping’…

  • But that’s it. You’ll now see a pretty-standard Amazon home page, albeit with the Smile name in the corner and a drop-down option to allow you easily change your charity.

How to Use AmazonSmile

Whenever you wish your 0.5% to go to charity, you need to head back to and shop as you would normally. Why Amazon can’t make their standard site default to charitable giving is a question for another time.

From what I can tell there is no way to use Amazon Smile via the mobile apps as yet and I’m guessing purchases from anywhere else – e.g. your Kindle – will also not be included.

One last thing – not everything on the Smile site generates revenue for your charity. To quote Amazon…

Millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations to charities by Amazon. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

But, if enough of us use AmazonSmile, then that 0.5% could really make a difference. If you’re using Amazon already, then why wouldn’t you want to help charity as well?

Main pic credit: Roderick Eime/Flickr


About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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