First multi-retailer gift card for charity shops launches

30 Nov 2021 News

Social enterprise Gift Card CIC partnered with the Charity Retail Association (CRA) to create the first multi-retailer gift card for its members.

So far four charity shop chains are involved in the scheme and the founders hope that The Charity Shop Gift Card will soon be accepted in most charity shops across the country.

Gift Card CIC and the CRA hope that the card will new funds to charity shops and help people shop more more sustainably. 

The CRA estimates that charities divert 339,000 tonnes of textiles away from landfill every year which saves councils £31m in annual waste disposal charges.

Robin Osterley, CEO of the CRA, said: “The first truly national charity shop gift card is a very exciting initiative that is launching at the perfect time for our members. 

“There is an ever-growing number of environmentally aware people who are keen to buy from charity shops at a time when many of our members’ finances are under great strain because of the pandemic.” 

The scheme is open to members of the CRA and so far four chains are using it in their shops. A spokesperson at the Charity Shop Gift Card, told Civil Society News that one charity joined the CRA specifically to be part of the gift card scheme this week.

Charities will pay a percentage of the value of the transaction made when people use their gift card, but can also earn commission on the cards they sell.  

Lee Fellows, managing director of Gift Card CIC, said: “Sustainability is a major driver of our scheme with the need for urgent action to control climate change at the top of the global agenda. This first nationally accepted gift card for charity shops can facilitate further growth in the circular second-hand economy which can in turn contribute to the UK achieving its targets to cut methane emissions, which landfill contributes to, by 30 per cent by 2030, as agreed at COP26. 

“The retail operations of charities are an important source of income as well as offering an alternative for shoppers which has a positive impact on the environment. Supporting that through increased consumer spend and our partnerships with support agencies is central to our aims.” 

Who accepts the Charity Shop Gift Card?

So far, the charity shops that accept the gift card are: 

  • Havens Hospices – 23 shops.
  • Pilgrims Hospices – 30 shops.
  • Hospicare – 18 shops.
  • Willow Wood Hospices – 10 shops.

With 81 charity shops now accepting the Charity Shop Gift Card, the company has set its target as having 350-400 shops accept the card shortly. 

Five other charity shop chains are preparing to accept the card. They are: Thames Hospice, Treetops Hospice Care, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, St. Rocco's Hospice and TRAID. 

What are the costs to charities?

There is a 15% redemption fee to charities when a transaction is made on a Charity Shop Gift Card. However, the Charity Shop Gift Card says that there are ways charities could mitigate the transaction costs, such as encouraging customers to round-up their donation.  

Charity shops are also able to earn 10% commission for selling the cards. 

The company provides the cards at no cost and provides seven day a week customer services.

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