Amazon’s Smile platform, which donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible items to a charity of the shopper’s choice, has been criticised by the German Fundraising Association.
AmazonSmile has the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. However, when shoppers use AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to a charity chosen by the customer. These products are marked "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation" on their product detail pages.
The German Fundraising Association has raised concerns that Amazon is including organisations in the platform without asking for their prior consent.
“Here a company uses the 'good cause' and the good name of organisations – but without their consent,” said Arne Peper, Managing Director of the German Fundraising Association.
This is an issue, Peper says, because receiving donations from Amazon is likely to contradict the donation codes of non-profit organisations that wish to remain independent of corporate support in general, or from specific types of business.
A further concern is that consumers who support a charity through AmazonSmile might be less likely to then support it in another way.
In June, Foodwatch asked Amazon to remove it from the platform, stating in a press release that it had not been asked if it wished to participate in the AmazonSmile platform and that it would not accept donations from Amazon because it does not accept donations from companies with any form of relationship with the food industry for reasons of independence.
In a letter to Amazon Germany's CEO Ralf Kleber, Foodwatch CEO Martin Rücker demanded an overhaul of the Smile programme as well as clarification for customers about how it works. Foodwatch stated that AmazonSmile customers who selected the organisation for a donation would see the message:"Supports: foodwatch eV” displayed prominently on the top of the AmazonSmile page and that this would give the impression that the work of Foodwatch was being promoted through a purchase.
The German Fundraising Association has strongly recommended that all donation platforms enter into intensive dialogue with organisations before using any of their details including their names and logos.