With your help, charity shops raise around £300m a year for good causes in the UK. Find out more about how they work.
What can I donate to a charity shop?
Most charity shops sell a wide range of goods, including:
- and toys.
Some charities may not be able to take large items of furniture, or electrical goods: if in doubt, check with the shop. Broken or incomplete items will not be sold.
All clothing is useful, even if it has holes. Clothes which can’t be sold in the shop will be sold to textile recycling companies, so they still make money for the charity.
The Charity Retail Association has advice on donating unusual items.
What are the benefits of charity shops?
Charity shops raise around £300m a year for charities in the UK. They’re easy to donate to – and things that people would have otherwise thrown away can be used to raise money for a good cause instead.
Volunteering and skills
Around 200,000 people volunteer in charity shops. Volunteering in charity shops helps people learn new skills and build connections in their communities.
- Volunteering in a charity shop helped one volunteer to find new friends and a paid job.
- The charity Crisis is employing homeless people in charity shops and cafes to help them build their people skills and confidence.
Recycling and the environment
Charity shops are a way to give used goods a second life. In 2015 charity shops prevented around 370,000 tonnes of clothes ending up in landfill. This is not only good for the environment, but also saves local councils money.
Charity shops also give people an opportunity to buy goods at a lower rate, which is particularly helpful for people on low incomes.
Do charity shops compete with commercial retailers?
Charity shops actually help other businesses by filling empty retail spaces and bringing shoppers to the high street. Because they rely largely on donated goods, they are not selling things that are directly competing with other shops. Charity shops make up around 3.5% of retail units in the UK.
Are charity shops becoming too expensive?
Charities need to strike a balance between ensuring their goods are affordable for customers and raising money for their cause. The prices they set reflect this. But in fact, the average value of a sale in a charity shop in 2016 was around £4 – that’s the total sale, not the price per item, so it includes sales where people bought multiple things.
Sources and More information
Figures used on this page are from the Charity Retail Association. For more information and to find your nearest charity shops, visit their website.