Amazon is ending its charity donation program AmazonSmile. The program, now a decade old, saw Amazon donate 0.5 percent of eligible purchases to a charity of the shopper’s choice.
More than $400 million had been donated through the program to U.S. charities alone, and more than $449 million had been donated around the world.
It comes as Amazon is making a series of cost-cutting measures. In struggling economic times, programs like charitable donations are typically the first to go in order to keep profits up.
Organizations, especially small ones, say the donations were incredibly helpful to them. And many shoppers who use AmazonSmile have expressed their dismay on social media and shared the impact the program has had on the charities they support.
The email to users that Amazon was sunsetting the Smile program came with a lot of self-justifying marketing jargon. It claimed the program was not making the hoped-for impact, even though the program ran for a decade.
The company also claimed that charities can now create their own “wish lists” for buyers to purchase for them, rather than the company take responsibility for charitable donations.
Organizations said that Amazon gave virtually no notice that AmazonSmile was going to end.
And furthermore, organizations have called out that Amazon made it difficult for the program to succeed because they “hid it behind another URL, and they never integrated it into their mobile apps.”
The newest Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has been tightening the pursestrings throughout the entire company.
This month, Amazon began the process of eliminating 18,000 jobs, marking the largest layoff round in the company’s history. It also marked the single largest number of jobs cut at a technology company since the industry downturn that began last year.
In 2022, it implemented a hiring freeze, halted construction of new warehouses, and canceled experimental programs like its telehealth service.