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- How and what can I donate to a charity shop?
At most charity shops you simply have to bring your donation to the shop, but you should call first and check before bringing in any large item such as furniture (to make sure they have space) or electrical appliances (to make sure that the shop has a qualified technician to test the goods). You can use our website to find your local charity shop's address and contact details, or just have a look on the high street. Charity shops also collect cash donations for their parent charities. There is more on donating goods in our Frequently Asked Questions.
5 things to think about when giving to a charity shop
- Charity shops work because they can sell items with a second life. Please check your donations are both clean and functional e.g. tears or broken zips on clothes – missing chapters in books!
- You are helping a good cause AND the environment – re-use is even better than recycling.
- The best way to donate is to take items directly to your local charity shop. If this isn’t possible, you could fill a charity shop collection sack, or take items to clothing banks.
- If you have more specialist items, for example, electrical goods or furniture, it is best to check that the charity shop can accept these items for re-sale before donating.
- If you are not sure whether your clothes can be re-sold – donate them anyway – whatever clothes a charity shop can’t sell they can send off for further re-use or recycling!
- Are there shops in my area that can collect a donation from me (including furniture)?
You can find the contact details of the shops in your area on our Find a Shop page; where shops have told us that they do collections, it will be noted here. If there are no shops in your area that accept furniture or electrical goods, you may wish to contact a member of the Furniture Reuse Network or your local council to see if they have a collection facility, particularly for good quality items that can be used to equip starter homes for people being housed for the first time.
- How do I go about starting a charity shop (or other queries relating to starting a charity or shop)?
Setting up and running a charity shop is a complex undertaking. You will find that you are faced with the same issues as someone running a small business - such as security, health & safety and trading law - as well as issues specific to the sector, such as where to get your stock and your volunteer workforce.
We have a short guide to starting a charity shop available in our Frequently Asked Questions section.
There is more detailed information in the guidance on the KnowHow NonProfit website.
The Association has produced a book which gives information and advice on all aspects of setting up and running a charity shop, from basic information such as finding the right location and premises to managing shop managers and marketing the shop. Setting Up and Running Charity Shops - an Essential Guide is THE definitive source on how to get started and succeed in the charity retail sector. Click here for more information or to order.
You can also find information about the legal aspects of trading as a charity (and setting up a charity) from the Charity Commission (tel - 0845 300 0218).
- How do I become a volunteer in a charity shop?
Click here to find out more about volunteering. If you would like to arrange a volunteering placement, the best way to do this is to contact a local charity shop directly. You can find the charity shops in your area on our Find a Shop page.
- How do I make a complaint about a charity shop?
The best way to deal with your complaint is to raise your issues with either the shop manager or the charity's head office. The charity will want to be made aware of your complaint and are the only people able to deal effectively with the problem. You can find contact details of the head offices of most of our member charities through their websites - see our list of members. If the contact details are not listed and the charity is a member of the Association, please contact us on the number or email address below.
- How can I tell if a charity shop or clothing collection is genuinely benefiting a charity?
Firstly, look for a Charity Registration number. This is not the same as the Company Registration number. If you can't find one or you are still not sure, call the Charity Commission on 0870 333 0128, and ask them to help you. The Charity Commission regulates all the charities in England and Wales. For charities in Scotland contact the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and for charities in Northern Ireland contact the Department for Social Development. Many charities running shops will also carry the Association's Code of Charity Retailing Logo.
- Can you tell me some more about charity shops, bogus collectors, recycling, Charity Retail Association?
There is a lot more information on all these issues on our Frequently Asked Questions pages. Just click on FAQs in the green menu bar.
Please note that the Charity Retail Association does not sell or buy any clothing and does not operate any shops.
If the answers to the questions above do not give the information you were looking for, please contact us at:
Charity Retail Association
356 Holloway Road
London N7 6PA
Telephone: 020 7697 4080
Fax: 020 7697 4252