2024 marks the 25th anniversary of the Charity Retail Association.

The past 25 years has seen a transformation in charity retail growth, innovation, recognition and reputation that we are honoured to have been part of. Join us as this remarkable journey continues. We’re committed to ensuring the next 25 years – and beyond – are even better!

By joining the CRA you are adding strength to our collective voice of 490 charities of all sizes running 9700 shops. Harness our services to drive sustainability, success and trust in our amazing sector. Help us to put charity shops first and foremost in the minds of shoppers and enable your retail operation to raise optimum funds for your parent charity.

We aim to lead the way on issues that matter to charity retailers, and be ahead of the game on innovations (such as the Charity Shop Gift Card and social return on investment) and challenges (such as helping to establish TRUST for the textile recycling industry). In 2023 we met 38 MPs, sat on 5 different Government forums, contributed to 8 consultations and held two parliamentary events. We also had the best year ever in terms of media exposure. Our influence helps to shape a successful charity trading environment on issues such as Gift Aid, Business rates, reuse and safeguarding (and we have our own safeguarding scheme for charity retailers to join).

Our highly regarded research programme – a priority service for many members – adds, not only weight and credibility to our lobbying efforts, but allows you to benchmark your retail performance. We encourage all members to take part.

In order for you to make the most of the successes that come from lobbying and influencing, we provide a catalogue of support and resources (full catalogue here). Our volunteering toolkit takes you comprehensively through each stage of the volunteering journey from recruitment to recognition. All of your staff and volunteers have access to Retail Trust’s excellent online wellbeing provision. We have over 100 policy guidance notes on all aspects of charity trading, from sale of goods to HMRC-approved Gift Aid operations. And we encourage sharing of expertise through case studies and our online forum.

We provide low cost recruitment advertising, health & safety and fire safety resources, and your shops appear on our Find a Charity Shop online search, which attracted 900,000 hits in 2023. Also online – we have a calendar of impactful social media campaigns for our members to take part in on all the big issues – volunteering, sales, donations, sustainability, recruitment and more – always with diversity and inclusion in mind.

Our community is growing all the time with a 5% increase in charities (490) and shop numbers (9700) seen in 2023. With a massive 98% of members saying they would recommend membership to another charity, you can see why our community-related services are such a success. Our packed calendar of events holds 50 opportunities to meet your fellow retailers, whether online or face to face. Expert speakers from within and outside of the sector ensure learning and development. And the valued networking time is both fun and productive. Take advantage of 10 different types of special interest group and special groups for hospices, small retail chains, nationals, geography specific groups and of course our flagship event – the Charity Retail Conference and the coveted Charity Retail Awards.

To come in 2024
Sustainability has a strong focus in 2024, with a new special interest group for this topic and net zero assistance being developed with Climate Action for Associations. You can also access some sustainable content-creator support via the Directory of Charity Shop Influencers when it is relaunched early in 2024.

With the general election on the way, we will be writing a charity retail manifesto with an emphasis on reuse – and we will be asking our members to contribute. Members have already been feeding into our new strategic plan for the next three years, giving us a strong steer on where you want us to focus our resources and you will see the results in the coming months.

Conference 2024 promises to be bigger and better than ever and we are excited for our 25th anniversary celebrations with a massive nod to you – the charity retailers that make all of this possible. Together we have put charity retail firmly on the shopping map – outdoing other high street retailers in performance and sustainability. Let’s go forward together, onwards and upwards into the next 25 years.

To our current and renewing members – a huge THANK YOU for your ongoing support.

View our infographic of 2023-24’s achievements

Annual fees

The fee structure is explained here

Who can join?

  • Registered charities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Exempt charities
  • Charity subsidiary trading companies
  • Charitable community benefit societies
  • Other not-for-profit structures such as CICs, co-operatives and social enterprises
  • Overseas charities