Prime Day points to creative fundraising

With Amazon promoting its third annual Prime Day for their members today (July 11), we’ve gotten a few interesting pitches in our email inbox over the last week — all of which lead to one option you may have missed.  Local arts orgs (and a whole lot of other charities) have signed up with Amazon for benefits when their fans shop via the Amazon Smile portal.

For nonprofits, it’s passive income on one of the busiest sites in the world.  Just sign up and wait for the money to arrive.  You can support your presence there by encouraging your members, fans and followers to choose your org and to shop through the Smile portal (see below).  It’s not likely to be a huge amount, but as we all know, every little bit helps.

For cash-strapped artists and everyone else, this could be a legit way to contribute to the organization you care most about, without donation pressure, annual beg letters, or giver guilt (that nagging feeling that you’ve never given enough). Everyone wins.

It doesn’t cost Amazon shoppers anything extra:  they just need to 1) designate a favorite eligible charity and 2) enter the site through, which triggers the benefit once they check out.  Those benefits may be a small percentage (0.5%) of your purchase, but with all the things people can buy through the site, they can add up:  According to the site, Amazon has donated more than $54 million through this program as of May 2017, which begs two questions:

  • If you use Amazon, are you putting this to work for a cause you care about?  Learn more here
  • If you run a nonprofit, have you signed up yet?  Learn more here

We’ve put together just a few notes about this program, so you can see if it works for you:

Local smilers

Here are a few of the SoCal classical music orgs in and of the Listerhood that we found on the Smile rosters:

American Composers Forum of Los Angeles
Celestial Opera
Center Stage Opera
Choral Arts Initiative
Dream Orchestra
Guild Opera Company
Hear Now Music Festival
Independent Opera Company
The Industry
iPalpiti Artists
Jacaranda Music
Long Beach Opera
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus
Los Angeles County High School for the Arts
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera
Los Angeles Opera
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Mesopotamian Opera Company
Monday Evening Concerts
Mountainside Master Chorale
Music Academy of the West
Ojai Youth Opera
Opera Buffs
Opera Guild of the Desert
Orange County Opera
Pacific Opera Project
Pacific Serenades
Philharmonic Society of Orange County
Redlands Opera Theatre
Repertory Opera Company
Riverside Lyric Opera
San Diego Opera
Santa Barbara Opera
Southeast Symphony
Southern California Early Music Society
Vox Femina Los Angeles

(Did we miss something?  Contact us, and we’ll add your org to the list.)

Choose your charity

It’s easy.  Go to and go to “Your Account” to choose or change your charity.  You can change at any time.

Signing up your nonprofit

It’s actually pretty easy, but there are some requirements to consider, and a few steps: the main thing is that you need to be a nonprofit organization listed by GuideStar, and need to register with the program to get your benefits.  This page will explain a lot.

  1. Identify an “organization administrator” for your Smile campaign.
  2. Go to the program’s registration page.
  3. Set up an administrator account.
  4. Add your financial information, so they can send you money when the time comes.
  5. Promote your involvement.
  6. Sit back and wait for the money to come in.

As we said above, this program isn’t going to build anyone a new concert hall.  But keep an eye out for more programs like this, whether you’re looking for ways to grow or ways to give.  Every little bit helps.

About Prime Day

This piece is really about supporting nonprofits.  But if you’re looking for an excuse to get deals, free shipping, streaming video and music and other perks, give a 30-day trial a shot. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

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