School fundraising with Amazon: Amazon Associates v. AmazonSmile Comparison Guide

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PTOs, PTAs, and other school groups that are registered 501(c)(3) charities have two Amazon online fundraising options: AmazonSmile and the Amazon Associates Program. There's also good news for non-profit school groups that are not registered 501(c)(3) charities: you’re still eligible to join Amazon Associates.

Judging from the lively discussions in PTO / PTA Facebook groups, though, far more PTO / PTA leaders are familiar with AmazonSmile than with Amazon Associates. That’s pretty interesting when you consider that Amazon Associates fundraisers are much more profitable. As I’ve pointed out before, PTOs, PTAs, and other school groups are raising hundreds to several thousands of dollars a year through the Amazon Associates Program (if you want to see a long list of Associates fundraising results shared by schools, check out this earlier post). By comparison, volunteers often report raising less than $100 a year with AmazonSmile.

So why haven’t more PTO and PTA volunteers heard about the Amazon Associates Program?

I think it’s because AmazonSmile gets so much attention in the non-profit world. The AmazonSmile Foundation provides Amazon a nice tax deduction, after all, so it’s understandable that they would promote this more actively to non-profits.

Amazon also launched AmazonSmile the same year (2013) that it discontinued Amazon School Rewards, which was part of Amazon’s larger Associates Program. Even though Amazon closed Amazon School Rewards, schools are still welcome to participate in the Associates Program, as you can see from this entry in the Help section of the Amazon Associates website:  

Amazon is no longer offering Amazon School Rewards. However, schools are welcome to participate directly in the Amazon Associates Program.

Against this backdrop – Amazon promoting AmazonSmile more widely to non-profits and closing Amazon School Rewards -- it’s not surprising that far more school groups are aware of AmazonSmile than Amazon Associates.

Even when PTO / PTA leaders hear about Amazon Associates, however, the process of setting up a profitable school fundraiser has not been as straightforward as it could be since Amazon School Rewards was closed. Volunteers must sift through a lot of affiliate marketing content and tools, most of which is geared towards the vast majority of Associates that are businesses, rather than non-profits.

My goal is to make the process of setting up Amazon Associate school fundraisers much simpler and faster by highlighting the “how to” information that’s most important to PTOs / PTAs. This infographic comparing Amazon Associates and AmazonSmile is one example. It’s designed to help answer questions that have popped up in PTO / PTA Facebook groups and on the School Volunteers Share Facebook page about what is involved in raising money with these programs. 

To download this Amazon Associates v. AmazonSmile comparison guide as a PDF,  click here .

To download this Amazon Associates v. AmazonSmile comparison guide as a PDF, click here.

I hope this infographic helps answer your questions about school fundraising with Amazon Associates and AmazonSmile. Please let me know if you have others! I would love to hear from you in the comments below or by email.

Ready to start your own Amazon Associates school fundraiser?

Be sure to check out these resources: 

Amazon Fundraising Challenge – Free email course steps you through the process of starting your own profitable Amazon Associates fundraiser. Course delivered in 6 emails.

Amazon school fundraising results – Real-life Amazon fundraising results from schools across the country.

Infographic – Amazon Associates v. Amazon Smile Comparison Guide – How they work, how much they pay, and how to get started.

Care to share your thoughts? Have questions? Comment below or send me a note by clicking the email icon below. I would love to hear from you.

Amazon School Fundraising Comparison Guide: Amazon Associates v. AmazonSmile. PTOs, PTAs, and other school groups that are registered 501(c)(3) charities have two Amazon online fundraising options: AmazonSmile and the Amazon Associates Program. This visual guide compares the differences. #SchoolVolunteersShare #PTO #fundraising #fundraiser #schoolfundraiser