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Charity Christmas cards prove not so heart-warming

December 2015

Charities receive little more than 3% of the purchase price of some charity Christmas cards in the UK, two surveys have revealed.
Harrods, London’s largest shop, gives 3.4% to Macmillan Cancer Relief from sales of the charity’s cards, and Selfridges, the second biggest store, contributes 3.5% of receipts from its Meningitis Trust cards, reports an evening newspaper.

Hilary Blume, director of the Charities Advisory Trust, which gives information on trading and income generation for charities, was robustly critical: “It is a scandal. The public are being misled and they are usually horrified when they know how little goes to charity.
“The biggest irony is that people go into shops and think how public-spirited they are to stock charity cards.

“Retailers want to offer charity cards because it helps sales. But they want to do it at no cost to themselves.”

Among the shops investigated by Which?, the consumers’ magazine, the Co-op retail group gives 7% of its sales of cards for the poverty and food bank charity FareShare, and the budget supermarket chain Lidl gives 8% of its income from cards supporting CLIC Sargent.

The contribution at the Aldi and John Lewis groups is 25% on branded cards. John Lewis gives 10% from its other ranges.

On a more positive note, the Morrisons supermarket group is donating £50,000 ($76,000, €71,000), irrespective of the number of cards sold, to the Sue Ryder charity, which helps people with life-changing illnesses, and Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, is giving £300,000 to Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation.

The Co-op emphasises that it fund-raises and helps charities in many ways. For example, it hands over surplus food enabling FareShare to provide a million meals a year, and its sandwich sales will realise £50,000 for the British Red Cross. The Co-op also aims to raise millions for the latter charity during the next two years.

Lidl replies that it gives other support to its chosen charity and expects to have given £1m by the end of next year.  

Picture credit: © Gergely Zsolnai |

UK & NI Ireland | Charitable giving


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