Amazon Smiles on Youngstown Business Incubator

In 2013, created a program dubbed AmazonSmile, which works to help nonprofit organizations and charities. The program donates 0.5 percent of a user’s purchase to a charity or organization of the user’s choice that is listed on the website.

Each quarter of the year, the AmazonSmile Foundation uses this revenue to make donations to registered charitable organizations electronically.

Brittany Housel, client development coordinator for the Youngstown Business Incubator, signed her company up for the program on Sept. 25.

Housel represents the YBI in regards to AmazonSmile. She said that she decided to register the YBI because Amazon is widely used by the public, and it would get their name out in the open, as well as bring in more funding.

“I myself use Amazon quite a bit, and I’ve been using it for another nonprofit organization that I work closely with,” Housel said. “I just thought ‘Well hey, if Amazon is really that big and everyone seems to use it, we might as well try our hand at it.’”

Housel created the account with AmazonSmile for the YBI on her own. Any nonprofit organization that wants to sign up with the site can do so on Amazon using the page along with a tax code that identifies the organization as nonprofit.

The list of charitable organizations in the program reaches almost one million. Charities must be in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service and located in the United States to be entered onto the list.

The only way to support the charitable organization through the AmazonSmile Foundation is to shop specifically on AmazonSmile. The website, which is a subset of the main Amazon site, can be found simply by typing in AmazonSmile into a search engine of choice. The site will then prompt users to choose a charity to support.

Housel said that the program offers an opportunity for nonprofit organizations like the YBI and the community of Youngstown is given a chance to support those organizations.

“I have high hopes for it. I think that if we do a really good job of getting the word out and educating people on how to connect your Amazon to AmazonSmile, instead of just using the regular site, I think that it could really benefit us. It’s the giving back version of purchasing,” Housel said. “I think it will increase support if we can get the word out and educate people in Youngstown.”