Amazon recently launched a new shopping portal that will make it easy for customers to support their favorite charities each time they shop on the site. Just in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season, AmazonSmile allows shoppers to select a charity that will receive 0.5 percent of the total price on eligible merchandise purchased.

In a press release on the matter, the company said shoppers can choose from several well-known charities including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the American Red Cross, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association or search through the database of nearly a million different charities.

To get started, simply navigate to and select a charity. After that, users will find the exact same Amazon products and prices they are used to. We are told customers can trade out for a different charity at any time. There is no cap on the total donation amount although you'll need to be sure to enter the AmazonSmile portal instead of the usual Amazon front page to activate the donation process each time you shop. It might be a good idea to replace your Amazon bookmark with the portal bookmark if you wish to donate so you won't forget each time you shop.

Donations will be made on your behalf by the AmazonSmile Foundation and although almost all items are eligible, there are a few restrictions. Digital content purchases like Kindle e-books or MP3s aren't eligible and for now, Amazon is also excluding items purchased as part of their subscribe-and-save program. That may change in the future, however, according to AmazonSmile general manager Ian McAllister.