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 Post subject: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:21 am
Posts: 535
Location: Yardley, PA (near Phila)
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS:

Finally - a donation program that even a railfan can participate in...


AMAZON SMILE - What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

http://smile.amazon.com/about

Sign up TODAY! I shop Amazon... err, Amazon Smile more then just about any other place short of the supermarket. What a great program! Donate free - or, sign your charity up ASAP and keep us posted!

Spread the word!!

/Mitch


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 Post subject: Re: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:41 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:08 am
Posts: 18
I recently discovered this as well and was surprised to see my organization already listed despite us not taking any action to get signed up. It appears we were preloaded into the Amazon Smile program simply because we are listed on GuideStar.

However, just because an organization appears as a choice on Amazon Smile, it doesn't necessarily mean your purchase will actually help them! The organization you want to help must be officially registered with Amazon and provide a bank account number for the donations to be transferred into. They can appear as a choice to Amazon customers even if this step has not been taken! If the organization does not take this step, money you think has been donated may actually get "redistributed" instead.

Here is a pertinent snippet from the Amazon website about signing up your organizaition for Amazon Smile (Source: https://org.amazon.com/ref=smi_se_saas_org_org):

Quote:
Receive Donations

How does my charity receive the donations?
Each quarter, the AmazonSmile Foundation makes donations to eligible charitable organizations by electronic funds transfer. Donations will be transferred approximately 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. To account for product returns, a portion of the quarterly donations will be withheld until the next donation cycle, subject to any reduction due to returns from prior quarters. See the AmazonSmile Participation Agreement for more details.

What happens if we do not register our charitable organization and provide a bank account for an electronic transfer?
If you do not register your charitable organization and provide bank account information for an electronic transfer, the AmazonSmile Foundation will still track and store donations earned in each calendar quarter. Once you’ve registered your charitable organization and we’ve verified your organization’s bank account information, your organization will be eligible to receive donation amounts allocated during the preceding four quarters as of the next donation cycle. Please note that donations that have been allocated to an unregistered charitable organization for more than four quarters will be redistributed to other registered charitable organizations during the next scheduled quarterly distribution. If you have not registered and have donations allocated to your organization, we will attempt to contact you to encourage you to register.

How much of the customers’ purchase price does Amazon donate?
The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from customers’ eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organizations they select. The purchase price for each item is the sale price, excluding shipping, handling, and gift-wrapping fees, taxes, and service charges, and less any rebates, returns, and bad debt. Certain items are not eligible for and will not result in donations.


My point is... check with your organization to see if they have or are going to take the steps needed for them to actually receive the donations.

For those of you thinking about signing up your organization for this, I also came across an interesting article on how there can potentially be negatives to this donation model as well. I'm not sure what I think of the article, but it's food for thought.

Why Amazon Is Smiling and Charities May Be Losing (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brady-josephson/why-amazon-is-smiling-and_b_4360405.html)


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 Post subject: Re: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:27 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:21 am
Posts: 535
Location: Yardley, PA (near Phila)
Amazon "only" makes a donation of .5% of your purchase, this is true. Yet, it costs you nothing. So - if you are making purchases on Amazon or know others who are, you have nothing to lose and your charity gets some extra cash - with very little, if any, effort.

The article states the hypothesis that this "feel good action" on your part will make you feel as if you've already paid your "dues" so to speak. "I already gave", in other words. though in reality, you likely gave much less then you might otherwise would if you made a more substantial donation directly.

I think of it as in addition to what I've donated and will continue to donate. It's automatic and free, too. .5% is not much, but multiply that by a factor based on a large quantity of railfans (and friends and family, even businesses) signing up and purchasing regularly.

/Mitch


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 Post subject: Re: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:08 am
Posts: 18
Mgoldman wrote:
I think of it as in addition to what I've donated and will continue to donate.


That's the crux of the matter. As long as the person making the Amazon purchase considers it a bonus gift rather than a substitute to direct giving, then it's truly a win-win.

The risk comes if that same person says to themselves "I don't need to add an extra $10 donation on top of my annual dues this year because I already helped them via my Amazon purchases." Unless they spent over $2000 through Amazon Smile, the charitable organization just lost on somewhere between 0 and 10 dollars. Anyone reading and writing on RYPN is probably invested enough in their organization of choice to not be at risk of viewing the program as a substitute, but I could see how some people could make that leap.

It's probably not a large enough concern to prevent anyone from signing up for the program, but I thought it was interesting enough to be worth sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:21 am
Posts: 535
Location: Yardley, PA (near Phila)
The Virginia Museum of Transportation is listed, in addition to the NRHS.

Also was told that the Feather River Rail Society was listed.

/Mitch


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 Post subject: Re: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:42 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:21 am
Posts: 535
Location: Yardley, PA (near Phila)
When you log in to smile.amazon.com, at the top you will see in orange "supporting" and the name of the charity you are currently signed up to support. If you click on the "supporting" word, it takes you to a page where you can change your charity or search for other charities.

Thanks to Jim Rygg for that info!

/Mitch


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 Post subject: Re: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
lentz.jeff wrote:
I recently discovered this as well and was surprised to see my organization already listed despite us not taking any action to get signed up. It appears we were preloaded into the Amazon Smile program simply because we are listed on GuideStar.

Yes. EVERY nonprofit is ALREADY in their system. They already populated it off the IRS published list.

Quote:
For those of you thinking about signing up your organization for this, I also came across an interesting article on how there can potentially be negatives to this donation model as well. I'm not sure what I think of the article, but it's food for thought.

Why Amazon Is Smiling and Charities May Be Losing (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brady-josephson/why-amazon-is-smiling-and_b_4360405.html)

It's sensationalistic tripe.

Understand there is a billion dollar industry in "article marketing", which is about writing "magnetic headlines" that suck the user into clicking them, then on the destination site, showing them ads. Their goal is to interest / fascinate / pique / puzzle / make you go "huh". It's all about CTR - the ratio of how often it's showed vs. clicked on. They don't care if the article is ignorant, obsolete or wildly wrong, as long as it pulls clicks and pushes ads. Huffington Post is a master of this type of marketing. See also "One weird trick..."


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 Post subject: Re: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:35 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 95
While the donation is not a lot its all about a numbers game. Having 10,000 people shopping all of the time makes it pretty easy to get the big donation numbers.

If this gets the general public and including railfans sign up and then look at your charity online I'm all for it. You never know who might become the next big donor or who will join your group.

American Steam Railroad will be available for choosing by the end of the day so if you would like to help Frisco Mike #1352 get out of Illinois this year please consider signing us up on the Amazon Smile and also making a donation to our organization directly.

http://www.americansteamrailroad.org/online-donation.aspx
http://www.facebook.com/americansteam

_________________
-----------
SLSF Mike 1352 and Reading 2100
American Steam Railroad
http://www.americansteamrailroad.org
http://www.fireup2100.org


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 Post subject: Re: Amazon Smile - DONATE to your charity FOR FREE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
The other problem with this idea is simple:

In one household of two adults, I could find a hundred different charities that I would be most happy to "support" with my purchases through such a program.

Two rail museums/operations in my area--no, four. Four others with which I've worked or want to see survive. At least four specific locomotive-specific projects I would be inclined to support. A hundred others nationwide.
Then the other projects: a project to gather and redistribute slightly-too-old foods and produce from sellers to give to the needy. A free-book-giveaway/redistribution program from which I have reading material for years. Non-profit cultural educational programs. The zoo. Libraries. A project to save a critically-endangered favorite animal of my wife's (Project Numbat, if you are curious). Art and music programs. And how many more could I add if I didn't avert my eyes from every imaginable charity that can (and does) shamelessly advertise with photos of sad, dejected-looking pets, homeless people, veterans, or children?

The ones I have seen that exploit this program the best are sociopolitical causes that have websites or blogs with regular updates, or even that exist solely to push an agenda. They place a "Search Amazon!" button on their website/blog ("This blog is an Amazon affiliate. Help support [BlatherBlog] by making purchases through Amazon links on this site"), and routinely remind readers, perhaps once or twice a week with perhaps one sentence ("Don't forget you can buy this reviewed book through the button on the right and support us at the same time!"). Even then, with popular nationwide sites, they might get a couple thousand dollars a year, which might be the difference between a blogger giving up a day job or not, but doesn't pay for the general manager's salary. (If someone has numbers demonstrating otherwise--that ThinkProgress, Rails-to-Trails, or the ASPCA get a million dollars a year from Amazon through this program, be my guest.)


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