FYI - The free resources I provide are made possible by the volunteer appreciation gifts that I design and sell through links on this site that add no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
AUGUST 2019 UPDATE - This article was previously titled Amazon Associates Program: The Best Easy School Fundraiser Since Box Tops when it was first published in August 2017.
Even though some school parent groups are still raising substantial amounts through the Amazon Associates Program, I am no longer strongly recommending that groups apply. Here’s why:
In recent months, I have been hearing from more PTO and PTA leaders that Amazon has been making it harder for school groups to get approved for the Amazon Associates Program and harder to stay in compliance with their terms of service once they are approved.
Some school parent groups are still raising hundreds to several thousands of dollars per year through Amazon Associates fundraisers. Here is a current example:
It might still be in your group’s interest to try an Amazon Associates school fundraiser, if you can spare about 2-5+ hours of time to carefully read the Amazon Associates Program terms of service, fill out the application, add information to your website, and start promoting the program. After your group referred at least three sales to Amazon from your website or social media accounts, your Associates Program application would be reviewed to determine if you will be accepted into the Program. But there is no guarantee that Amazon will approve your account.
I have heard from PTOs and PTAs who have had their accounts declined even though they set it up the same way as other groups who had their accounts approved. Some of these groups reapplied and were approved, but that takes time that you may not be able to spare, and there is still no guarantee that Amazon will approve your account.
If your group is a 501(c)(3), Amazon Smile is much easier to set up and the terms of service are much less restrictive for non-profits, but it also pays much less.
If you are still interested in finding out if school fundraising through Amazon Associates would work for your school group, check out the rest of the content below from my original article.
Please feel free to contact me with questions as well. You can email me using the envelope icon below or message me through my School Volunteers Share Facebook page.
Amazon Associates School Fundraising Results (as of June 2017)
Amazon says that “thousands of schools and other organizations” participate in the Amazon Associates Program. I served as a PTO leader for seven years before I stumbled across Amazon Associates fundraising in 2017. Once I knew what to look for, I was able to find over 350 PTOs, PTAs, and other school groups fundraising with Amazon Associates.
I contacted these groups to ask if they would share their fundraising results and many of them did, including some who listed results on their web sites. Others shared their results with me by email. Their fundraising results are summarized in this table.
Amazon fundraising in a “nutshell”
How much it pays: Associates earn referral fees up to 10% + special fixed fees
Who can participate: Businesses, individuals, non-profits.
Started in 1996, the Amazon Associates Program is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program comprising millions of advertising partners worldwide. If your school group joins the Amazon Associates Program, you will become an “Associate,” which is also known as an “affiliate,” and your group will earn fees for sales that result from web traffic you refer to Amazon through special links on your website and social media.
Until 2013, Amazon offered a related affiliate marketing program aimed at schools called Amazon School Rewards. At that time, Amazon stopped accepting new participants into the School Rewards program. However, as you can see from this information on the Amazon Associates Central website, schools and other non-profit groups are welcome to participate in the broader Amazon Associates Program:
How much it pays: .5% of sales donated
Who can participate: U.S. charitable organizations qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Introduced in 2013, AmazonSmile is a charitable program where the AmazonSmile Foundation donates a percentage of qualifying purchases made through its AmazonSmile.com website to charities designated by shoppers.
If your group is a registered 501(c)(3), you can participate in the Associates Program and AmazonSmile at the same time.
How School Parent Groups Fundraise with Amazon Associates - Illustrated
Amazon Associates School Fundraising Blueprint
More About School Fundraising with Amazon Associates Program
Feel free to email me using the envelope icon below or message me through my School Volunteers Share Facebook page.