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Using Amazon Smile to Support Your Local Animal Shelter

Here's how to sign up and remember to have a proceed of every purchase you make support your local animal shelter.

Photo Courtesy of Mimzy on Pixabay

You’ve got your sweet, little pets at home. Yet as pet lovers, we often feel that desire to do a something more for fellow fuzzy friends out there. However, with the Amazon Smile program, a percentage of everything you purchase from them can be donated to a pro-life charity. You can buy anything from video games to fuzzy bunny slippers and have some of the proceeds go toward the charity of your choice.

Here’s how to get to Amazon Smile.

It’s honestly not as easy as it could be.

The typical Amazon URL is

However, if you navigate to each time you go shopping, a percentage of every single purchase you make will go toward the charity of your choice.

If you're not sure where to start, you can select one of the bigger groups that are set up with Amazon Smile.

The good news is that there are over 6,000 animal shelters set up as charities with Amazon Smile. Once you're logged in, follow the prompts that come up on your screen. You do need to be logged in to view the list of charity options.

Currently, Amazon Smile is not available in every country, if you're a US-based shopper, you can choose any of the thousands of shelters across the nation. There are many groups that are state-based so you can opt to support your home state's shelters.

You might already be familiar with Amazon Smile.

Photo Courtesy of Dgdom on Pixabay

And if you are, you might think it’s nice, but might not see it as an excellent way to help animals in need in your area. There are two big complaints out there that people usually have to say about Amazon Smile.

  • It’s only 0.05 percent of every purchase.
  • It’s not easy to remember to access it.

There are some people out there who complain that Amazon is only donating a modest 0.05 percent of their purchases to the chosen charities. It’s true, it’s not a lot of money.

However, we’re pet people. So many animal shelters out there are getting by on tightrope budgets and don’t have much money at their disposal. If you’re on a tight budget, but you get some of your necessities on Amazon, then a small percentage of that will still add up. Let’s say you manage to have that 0.05 percent add up to even just $10 throughout the year; that still feeds a lot of kittens and puppies.

Photo Courtesy of Mimzy on Pixabay

According to a study held at Rutgers University exploring the cost of having an animal shelter, it costs the shelter between $700-$875 to have a cat or dog annually.

Let’s do the math; if everyone earns about $10 on their purchases in donations, it just takes 70 to 85 Amazon users to support an animal for an entire year. In 2016, there were about 310 million Amazon users worldwide. According to Forbes, in their piece featuring charts of Amazon Prime’s growth, they share that there are 90 million Amazon Prime subscribers in the US.

If you have a Prime account, the chances are, you’re ordering quite a lot from Amazon to make that membership worth it.

If even just half the Amazon Prime members—we’re going to say 45 million since not everyone is an animal lover—earned $10 per year through that 0.05 percent of their purchases, that would be three hundred and fifty million dollars.

This is the last bit of math I’ll torture you with. Divide that by the $875 it costs per year for a shelter to house a pet looking for their forever home, that ends up being 400,000 pets supported. That is nothing to sneeze at.

Can’t remember to go to the special smile URL?

Photo Courtesy of luxstorm on Pixabay

The hardest part of using Amazon Smile is remembering to access it. It’s best reached on a desktop, which can be complicated if you’re a mobile shopper. A lot of users argue that Amazon is purposefully trying to make it hard for people to utilize the Smile program and give money away to charities.

That may be true. However, I do a lot of shopping for necessities on Amazon (because it’s always oh so exciting to get a box of disinfectant wipes and conditioner in the mail) so I’m happy if a small percentage of that routine shopping can go toward a good cause. However, it is worth noting that Amazon Subscribe & Save subscription items will not go toward your Smile earnings.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution if you can’t remember to navigate to Amazon Smile instead of regular Amazon.

If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, there’s a fantastic extension that you can install which will automatically redirect you to Amazon Smile every time you go to Amazon. The extension is Smile Always and it can be downloaded for free directly from the Chrome store. 

I recently downloaded it and it's been working great. If I click a link from a deals website, from my email, or anything else, I'm automatically brought over to Amazon Smile without any delay.

If you’re not using Chrome already, I’d highly encourage you to switch; if you’re using Safari or Internet Explorer, you’re in for a treat, but even FireFox users can enjoy some of the convenient features Google packs their browser with. But let’s not talk tech too much, we’re here for pets and helping pets.

Does it make an impact?

Photo Courtesy of Free-Photos on Pixabay

At the end of the day, those big numbers I threw around are solely dependent on a lot of people taking part in this program and choosing to support animal shelters.

There are a lot of fantastic charities out there, but I personally feel like shelters, especially no-kill shelters, are among the best ones to support. Animals are helpless when waiting for their forever homes. Locked up in a shelter, there’s simply nothing they can do but wait for their future family to walk down the corridor of cages.

However, every person who starts using Amazon Smile regularly, every person who installs the add-on and starts earning on every purchase, sends out a little ripple in the sea. Every ripple matters, since lots of little ripples make waves, and then waves make a larger impact.

Dreamy metaphors aside, start using Amazon Smile. Choose the animal shelter you want to support. This is one of the easiest ways you can donate without actually using any of your own money to do so. All the money you spend on necessities and fun purchases on Amazon can start supporting pets in need.

Leigh Fisher
Leigh Fisher

I'm from Neptune. No, not the farthest planet from the sun, but from Neptune, New Jersey. I'm a writer, poet, blogger, and an Oxford comma enthusiast.

I go by @SleeplessAuthor on Twitter and @SleeplessAuthoress on Instagram.

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