Freelance Fundraiser’s Jottings

14 May 2008

Charity Shops are brill!

Filed under: charity,fundraising,not-for-profit — freelancefundraiser @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

What’s your image of a charity shop? Scruffy? Tatty? Musty? Full of old ladies? If this is your image, when did you last visit a charity shop? You might find things have changed generally…

Charity shops provide a very valuable resource to local communities at several levels:

  • They raise money for good causes. Whether this is a local hospice or a national charity for the old, homeless or starving, all charity shops raise much needed funds to enable charities to fulfil their work.
  • They are very green places. Charity shops are at the forefront of green recycling. They not only recycle clothes, but also household goods, books, CDs, DVDs, computer games, toys. Things that would otherwise have found their way into landfills. Some even sell furniture, which enables homeless people who have been offered a flat or house the chance to furnish it at a price they can afford.
  • They provide for people on low or no incomes. Parents can dress their children and themselves with good quality clothes at a fraction of the High Street Stores prices. OK, they’re used and possibly a little dated, but if you shop around, you’d be amazed what you find. I use them to buy shirts. I like the “Oxford” style shirts and have no trouble picking up M&S, Ben Sherman, Polo and other leading brands at a fraction of the “new” price. A good machine wash and no one would have a clue where it came from!
  • They offer a social service. Many charity shop managers I know talk about the customers, especially elderly widows, who pop in 2 or 3 times a day, not so much to buy, but for a bit of company and a chat. Because it’s a charity running it, they feel like they can trust the staff and volunteers and they often become friends, rather than customers.
  • The times, they are a changing. If you thought charity shops were about old clothes, think again! Oxfam piloted specialist music stores and bookshops. Several charities now have specialist shops. Did you know that Oxfam has launched fashion boutiques? They will provide shoppers with high-quality, desirable clothing and look to turn the traditional concept of a charity shop on its head. The boutiques were launched in response to shoppers’ views that they wanted a more contemporary shopping experience.
  • Move over High Street charity shops, the virtual ones have arrived! Many charities now have charity shops on Ebay. This offers them the chance to auction high demand brand names and achieve much higher prices than they’s get in one of their High Street shops. A good example is St. Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds. Check out their Ebay shop at: http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/stgemmasshop

So next time you pass a charity shop, don’t look down your nose at it, go inside and make the most of this unique place – you might just come out with a real bargain too!

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