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AmazonSmile Ends but CleverGiver Brings Nonprofit Smiles Back

Luvish logo: MainLogo Luvish 2/22/2023 Samantha Genkins

Amazon’s statement informing the public that it would shut down the AmazonSmile program shocked the nonprofit world and Amazon shopper communities, especially those that have been donating this way for ten years since the program’s launch. Upon the announcement, those helping their favorite nonprofits through Amazon’s program and those receiving the help were sent into full gear, trying to find new methods of supporting the organizations that often single-handedly tackle some of the world’s largest problems.

AmazonSmile was an endeavor to help Amazon shoppers support the nonprofits whose missions they share. The program raised hundreds of millions of dollars since its 2013 launch and helped almost a million nonprofits worldwide. Donating shoppers could choose from a broad range of categories on the AmazonSmile Charity Lists or decide which of their local missions to help. The millions of options ranged from animal shelters to hospitals to homelessness services. Through the program, shoppers could purchase whatever they needed through Amazon, and AmazonSmile would donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the charities of buyers’ choice at no extra cost. The program provided more than $449 million globally to essential movements, which are now left without this significant funding source. With the AmazonSmile program gone, millions of shoppers are looking for a new way to donate, while millions of nonprofits are searching for new avenues of help.

CleverGiver Brings Nonprofit Smiles Back © CleverGiver CleverGiver Brings Nonprofit Smiles Back

From 2020, CleverGiver has been complementing AmazonSmile by supporting the same concept across thousands of online stores other than Amazon. Not surprisingly, it started gaining increased traction just as the Smile program went on its downward slope. Evgenii “Geno” Prussakov, CEO and co-founder of CleverGiver, holds that the solution allows shoppers to donate to their nonprofits of choice, as the platform itself keeps relationships with more than 7,300 US online stores and is able to support nearly two million nonprofits looking for aid. 

“In principle, it’s no different from AmazonSmile,” says Prussakov, “It’s just that shoppers are not shopping with Amazon, but with a myriad of other stores with which CleverGiver has established cashback relationships. Furthermore, we donate at least three times the percentage that AmazonSmile used to donate!” Prussakov emphasizes that the list includes many prominent retailers and brands such as Apple, Target, Walmart, Wayfair, eBay, The Home Depot, Fanatics, and thousands of other brands that shoppers love and trust. The secrets behind CleverGiver lie in its ability to reach stores and nonprofits on a broader range than many previous charity programs. Prussakov hopes that frightened organizations looking for help will find solace and hope in what CleverGiver has to offer.

Cashback is a way for users to gain rewards and money back for shopping with participating brands. Often in the past, banks and high-ticket brands have used cashback as a way to bring shoppers to their doorstep, offering them loyalty rewards. For example, customers could get a rebate, or a part of their spending back, if they shopped at a specific store or purchased a particular product. In cases with banks, the bank would offer its relationship with that store to the customer if they shopped through the bank or by using a bank-issued card. “This was a great way to bring in anyone who wished to save money while shopping,” says Prussakov, who has taken the idea to a new level by building CleverGiver.

Cashback for donations is a CleverGiver feature that broadens the traditional cashback concept. “For example,” says Prussakov, “If a user shopped at their favorite online store through us, they would get back a percentage of the money they’ve spent.” CleverGiver, in turn, allows each shopper to designate up to three nonprofits to support out of this cashback, including the exact percentages of funds that should go to each. “We empower automated giving that doesn’t come from surcharges on the order total or from reaching for your wallet. It’s a true win-win situation for nonprofits and their supporters,” Prussakov adds.

It’s important to highlight that the platform is suitable for families consisting of parents and minor children. “CleverGiver only works with family-friendly stores,” holds Prussakov. It also currently focuses solely on the US market, featuring American merchants only.

With so many nonprofits waiting to be supported at this time, Prussakov hopes that CleverGiver will reinvigorate charities who are worried about the future of their funding previously received through AmazonSmile. Furthermore, CleverGiver is on a mission to bring together stores, buyers, and charities, creating a network of solutions that benefits each participant. “As of late, we’ve seen significantly more people drawn to our solution: joining and engaging in donation efforts,” mentions Prussakov, “I know that we offer a truly solid alternative to the retiring AmazonSmile.”

The platform is increasingly becoming an excellent way for those who wish to be rewarded for shopping at family-friendly stores to give back to a charity of choice. But, CleverGiver is not the only way that nonprofits can leverage the available technology.

CleverGiver's Cousin Platform - Loyalize © Loyalize CleverGiver's Cousin Platform - Loyalize

Prussakov notes that CleverGiver’s cousin platform, Loyalize, can be used by nonprofits to directly offer their supporters the ability to donate from shopping. 

Before, the ability to develop and maintain cashback relationships with stores wasn’t in the arsenal of regular companies and nonprofits that were struggling to retain customers and maintain growth on their own. Likewise, many didn’t realize the impact that cashback could have on their organization in terms of building loyalty. Loyalize allows CleverGiver’s compilation of cashback relationships and nonprofit donation opportunities to be harnessed by businesses and nonprofits alike. Tapping into Loyalize's API, nonprofits can now seamlessly integrate a robust cashback solution into their own desktop or mobile application. Nothing needs to be downloaded or installed. Loyalize's cashback API presents an opportunity for any organization to leverage cashback as a means to build loyalty with their users (or supporters).

“Offering over 7,300 stores through CleverGiver is our effort to provide shoppers with a list of places to shop to support the causes they care about.” says Prussakov, “With Loyalize, however, nonprofits can now take matters into their own hands, growing supporters' loyalty through this ‘shop-to-donate-your-cashback’ experience.”

Aside from CleverGiver and Loyalize, a third option exists. “Organizations can receive data from Loyalize in the format of a so-called JSON file,” holds Prussakov, “instead of making the API calls and getting the data dynamically.” This simpler method allows nonprofits to use essential information such as store names, links, and cashback levels so that they can deploy a cashback application themselves – literally within hours and without the need for significant software deployment effort. A great example of this in action is how UNITED24 leverages Loyalize to get donations from cashback to support Ukraine.

Prussakov hopes this option will serve as a more dynamic way for businesses and nonprofits to harness the power of cashback. “By giving them not just the ability to use our software but the ability to create their own user experience, we really wanted to see businesses developing what fits them best,” Prussakov holds.

Prussakov mentions that whether leveraging CleverGiver directly, using Loyalize’s API key, or the JSON file, “We are excited for the nonprofit community to receive the support and care it needs.” Likewise, he desires to see the CleverGiver and Loyalize cashback and donation combination inspiring supporters to further give back to even more valuable movements.


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