Amazon to end its ‘Amazon Smile’ charity program

Amazon, according to CNBC, has just announced that it is ending the AmazonSmile charity program. 

For those unfamiliar with AmazonSmile, shoppers, upon accessing the website, are asked to pick a charity that they’d like to donate to. Then, a percentage – 0.5% – of eligible purchases that the shopper makes will be donated to the chosen charity.

The program first launched in 2013. And, through AmazonSmile, Amazon, over the past decade, is said to have donated about $500 million to charities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and in Germany.

The program, however now appears to be coming to an end.

The announcement

It was on Wednesday that Amazon revealed that it has decided to end the AmazonSmile charity program.

According to Amazon, the reason that it has done so is that the program has not been as effective as the company had envisioned.

“After almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped,” Amazon told customers in a notice that it posted. “With so many eligible organizations — more than 1 million globally — our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.”

Amazon went on to back this up with figures. The company revealed that the average donation that it was making to charities was less than $230.

There may, however, be more to this story than initially meets the eye.

Background

CNBC notes that Amazon’s decision to end the AmazonSmile charity program comes as the company has been making moves to cut costs.

Per the outlet:

The move to shutter AmazonSmile comes as CEO Andy Jassy has embarked on a sweeping review of the company’s expenses amid a worsening economic outlook and slowing growth in its retail division.

CNBC goes on to highlight the fact that Amazon “has commenced the largest layoffs in its history and instituted a hiring freeze across its corporate workforce.” The outlet further points out that Amazon has “paused warehouse expansion and shuttered some experimental projects like its telehealth service and a quirky, video calling device for kids.”

It is likely that Amazon’s decision to end AmazonSmile is part of this broader effort by Jassy to get the company into a better financial position.

The AmazonSmile program is now expected to end by Feb. 20. Amazon, though, has assured customers that it will still continue to do what it can to “make meaningful change,” such as with the company’s Housing Equity Fund and other related measures.