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.