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For your nonprofit to build a sustainable fundraising strategy, it’s best to have a variety of funding sources that work together to further your mission. From 2013 onward, many nonprofits established a steady stream of ongoing revenue by participating in AmazonSmile.

AmazonSmile allowed shoppers to automatically contribute a portion of each purchase they made through Amazon.com to a nonprofit of their choice. These small donations added up over time to aid the fundraising efforts of more than a million organizations. But all of this came to an end on January 18, 2023, when Amazon announced they would be discontinuing the Smile program on February 20.

If your organization was impacted by this closure, you’re probably wondering what to do next. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we’ll walk through three next steps for nonprofits affected by AmazonSmile’s discontinuation, including how to:

  1. Re-evaluate Your Organization’s Budget
  2. Keep Your Supporters in the Loop
  3. Explore Alternative Fundraising Methods

Now that the dust has settled from the initial announcement and pushback against the end of AmazonSmile, it’s important to carefully consider all of the available options to continue engaging supporters and funding your organization’s mission throughout the year. Let’s dive in!

1. Re-evaluate Your Organization’s Budget

An important outcome of Amazon’s announcement about the Smile program has been the need for nonprofits to revise their budgets. Jitasa’s guide to nonprofit budgeting explains that most organizations create their operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year before the previous fiscal year ends so their board can approve it on time.

For nonprofits whose fiscal year follows the calendar year, finding out in January that a key revenue source would be discontinued in February left little time to adjust a budget that had already been finalized.

If your organization is in this situation, your financial team might follow these three steps to re-evaluate your operating budget:

  1. Determine the approximate amount of lost revenue. When you developed your budget, you likely used data from previous years of fundraising through AmazonSmile to estimate your revenue for this year. Subtract the amount you earned between January 1 and February 20, as well as the three months of contributions Amazon promised to pay out to each impacted organization, from your estimated revenue. This will show approximately how large your fundraising deficit is.
  2. Calculate your unrestricted funding total. To put your fundraising deficit into perspective, add up the revenue in your budget that isn’t earmarked for a specific project or program, and subtract the amount of revenue you lost from the total.
  3. Double-check your reserve funds. If your organization has a savings account or other rainy day fund, it can provide an additional level of security while you’re looking into new revenue sources.

By examining your budget in this way, your nonprofit will be able to make more informed decisions on how to proceed with fundraising for the rest of the year. You’ll also probably realize that although hope isn’t lost, you still need to act with urgency to make up for lost AmazonSmile revenue.

2. Keep Your Supporters in the Loop

Most of your supporters will likely have heard about the end of AmazonSmile, either via the email that Amazon sent to Smile customers or through word of mouth. However, they’re probably still wondering how they can continue supporting your organization and its mission.

To address your supporters’ questions, make sure you’re communicating with them regularly. If you haven’t already, send out an email and post on your organization’s social media accounts to remind them that AmazonSmile has been discontinued and reassure them that you’re working on a recovery plan. In the meantime, provide a quick way to contribute by directing them to the donation page on your organization’s website.

Then, keep your supporters informed as you decide how to adjust your fundraising strategy. Supporters tend to appreciate updates on how your nonprofit navigates uncertainty because it ensures transparency and lets them know how to support you through these changes.

3. Explore Alternative Fundraising Methods

The most important step in making up your nonprofit’s fundraising deficit is finding one or more alternative fundraising methods that will compensate for the revenue you would have received from AmazonSmile. Try to choose fundraisers that can be set up fairly quickly and make contributing convenient for your supporters. Let’s look at three possibilities in more detail.


Crowdfunding campaigns have grown in popularity over the past several years, so they’ll likely be familiar to many of your nonprofit’s supporters. Your organization can set up a campaign for free on a crowdfunding platform, where you can bring in a lot of small donations in a short period of time.

Besides being an easy fundraiser to launch and contribute to, crowdfunding can help spread awareness about your mission if you encourage donors to share your campaign on social media. Plus, you can set a fundraising goal equal to the exact amount of revenue you lost, so you can easily balance your organization’s budget.

The one drawback of crowdfunding in this situation is that it isn’t sustainable. You can quickly make up your fundraising deficit for this year, but you’ll have to launch a new campaign each year after that—or better yet, find another long-term solution.

Matching Gifts

Matching gifts are an easy way to double many of the individual donations your nonprofit already receives. When a supporter whose employer has a matching gift program donates and submits a match request, the employer will give the same amount.

By embedding a matching gift tool into your online donation form, you can create a sustainable revenue stream since many businesses will match multiple employee contributions per year. Some tools also make the match process more convenient through auto-submission—all the donor has to do to send their match request is enter their work email address.

The main challenge with matching gifts is that many donors don’t know they’re eligible, so your organization will need to devote extra time and resources to promoting this fundraising method.

Online Shopping Fundraisers

AmazonSmile wasn’t the only program out there that allowed shoppers to support nonprofits by making everyday online purchases. The best alternative fundraising method by far is to partner with a different online shopping fundraiser platform.

Rather than being tied to one retailer, these programs operate within a wide network of e-commerce businesses. When a supporter makes a purchase at any participating retailer using the program’s app or browser extension, a portion of their total sales goes back to a nonprofit of their choice at no additional cost to them or the organization.

ShopRaise’s guide to shopping for a cause explains that your organization can get started with online shopping fundraisers in three easy steps:

  1. Register your nonprofit. The program’s fundraising experts will walk you through a simple onboarding process, answer any questions, and handle all negotiations with retailers for you.
  2. Promote your fundraiser. If your organization is switching from AmazonSmile to a new platform, you’ll need to let supporters know about the change and regularly remind them to use the app and browser extension. Luckily, the program can also help with this step by creating a branded landing page, flyers, email templates, and other marketing materials for your fundraiser.
  3. Track your results. You’ll be able to view real-time data on your fundraiser, allowing you to thank your top supporters individually and see how their contributions add up over time. Additionally, while AmazonSmile only gave about 0.5% of each purchase back to nonprofits, other shopping fundraiser programs can get you up to a 10% commission rate to multiply your fundraising totals!

Your supporters will likely appreciate the flexibility that comes with your new online shopping fundraiser, since they can now shop for your cause at even more of their favorite retailers. It’s also an opportunity for them to participate in an ethical shopping initiative and consider the impact of their purchases more carefully.

Although the discontinuation of AmazonSmile left many organizations without a clear path forward, the tips above can hopefully help clarify your next steps. Once you’ve assessed the change in your nonprofit’s budget and let your supporters know what’s going on, try out some fundraising alternatives to see what works best for your organization. Good luck!

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