Debenhams wins Scrooge Award for charity Christmas cards

Debenhams has won the 2012 Scrooge Award

Debenhams wins Scrooge Award for charity Christmas cards7

Fundraising | Tania Mason | 20 Nov 2012

This year’s Scrooge Award, for the retailer that gives the most paltry amount to charity from its charity Christmas cards, has been won by Debenhams.

The Charities Advisory Trust, the outfit behind the annual Scrooge Awards, has discovered that Debenhams cards sold in aid of the NSPCC give just 8.33 per cent to charity (10 per cent after VAT).

Dame Hilary Blume, director of the Charities Advisory Trust, said it was a particular shame that Debenhams had won this year’s award because “last year Debenhams gave a generous 20 per cent to charity on its own-brand cards”.

The Curate’s Egg Award, for a retailer that is ‘good in parts’, went to Rymans. “We like the 20 per cent to charity on their own cards but despise the 7.5 to 8.5 per cent on the ‘special edition’ range,” said Dame Hilary.

After years of Christmastime campaigning by the Trust – which sells its own charity cards through Card Aid and gives 60 per cent of each 50p card sold, to charity – retailers usually accept that 10 per cent for charity is the absolute minimum.  In this year’s survey only a handful of retailers went below 10 per cent.

However, a number have reduced the charity cut since last year. Alongside Debenhams, WH Smith reduced the charity percentage from 25 per cent to 16 per cent and Clintons from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.

There has also been a steady trend away from charities that provide assistance overseas, in favour of UK charities.  In 2008, Harrods sold 63 per cent of its charity cards in aid of international development charities; this year it is 14 per cent. Similar moves were observed at House of Fraser (from 82 per cent to 13 per cent) and Paperchase (77 per cent to 14 per cent).

Dame Hilary added that it is only right to mention that WH Smith has a special Children in Need card that gives 70 per cent to the charity. But she added: “Didn’t it used to be 100 per cent?”

Debenhams did not respond to a request for comment by the deadline given.

Charities Advisory Trust had also given a new award this year, the Devil's Spawn Award, to the Post Office, for "raising postal charges and refusing to produce a special lower-priced charity stamp" for those sending charity cards.

But the Post Office said it should not have been given the accolade because it is the Royal Mail that sets postal charges and produces stamps, not the Post Office.

Separately, new research by British Airways among 1,000 people found that 35 to 44-year-old Londoners are the most likely groups to buy charity cards.

Ingrid Sommeling
27 Nov 2012

Why not give the coalition government the Scrooge award!

Patrick Prinsloo
Combined Charities Christmas Shops Association
25 Nov 2012

The pop-up Christmas shops run by the Combined Charities Christmas Shops Association gives every penny of the card sale to the charities when bought in the shops. We think this is unique. This is because nobody gets paid (we have over 600 volunteers) and costs such as rent, insurances, publicity etc are covered by the margins from the sales of wrapping paper, stocking fillers, and other gifts. We've been going for over 40 years. The venture was started by Sheila Hallas who still manages it. Sheila was awarded an MBE a few years ago in recognition of the success the shops have become and the contribution to charities. There may of course be other local pop-ups in other areas giving 100%.
Purchase of cards off our website do incur a small cost which we pass on the the charities.

Ian Draper
Management Consultancy Agency
Adam Christian Enterprises{UK}
25 Nov 2012

The fact that the word charity is synonymous with simply fund raising! When in fact, charity should be giving of oneself! This would alleviate problems with how much people would give, they would not be able to obtain tax relief, from tax authorities, or turn it into a business! The word began many years ago with the Latin " Caritas" that according to definition means just "charity" anyone interested in reading more can at this link:

Dame Hilary Blume
Charities Advisory Trust
21 Nov 2012

Actually, our experience over the 11 years we have been doing the Scrooge Awards shows that retailers do respond to the negative criticism, and that is how the amount to charity has gone from 2% to 10% on most "charity" cards sold by high street retailers.
Since shops offer charity cards in part to give customers what they want, but also to show they are caring and ethical, they certainly don't want the negative publicity which makes them seem Scrooge-like.

Dilip Pujara
Finance Manager
Yardley Great Trust
20 Nov 2012

How is this going to help? What are the chances of Debenhams now giving more because of this negetive publicity? .

Karen Drury
20 Nov 2012

Yeah, but last year, the implication was that these organisations did BOTH.

Ged Simpson
Funding Adviser
20 Nov 2012

At least they pay their taxes unlike some other big corporations


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