Monday, 18 August 2014

Charity begins at Home

Or rather the letterbox and while it may begin at home, it appears it could well finish some considerable distance from my front door, with the clothes in Kenya or Poland and the money in Lithuania.

I'm amazed at the amount of post and mail that comes through the door the majoprity of it being junk every day, it seems someone is offering to make me bigger than I already am, with pizzas, kebabs, Chinese takeaway, or fried chicken added to the dross often a bag for a charity will be left on the doormat some of which are a little ambiguous if you ask me,the one illustrated to the top of this post is a case in point.

Do not delay! collection for "breast cancer prevention" emotive stuff and ribbon logo which is a very emotive because my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.

So I take this a bit of post a little more seriously, further reading makes it clear that a commercial company will be collecting the clothes and they state that the project will receive at least £100 for every tonne of clothes collected but not less than £2000 per month. Sounds good but doesn't really clarify how much goes to Charity.

Still this got me thinking how much is a ton of clothes worth and reading an article in the financial Times from 2012 it appears at that time such commodity was worth £650 per ton so I just wonder what happens to £550 the company doesn't guarantee to Charity.

Anyway delving a little more I visited the company's website where apparently they mention that they are a member of the Fund Raising Standards Board sounds good but then as with so many of these bodies it happens to be one of those self-regulatory organisations, paid for by those it regulates.

I think businesses raising money for charity ought to have a clear indication of how much of their turnover results in funds in the pockets of charities if I were they were to say that a clear percentage* went to a charity we could make clear choice.

Anyway I rang the trade or charity organisation FRSB that regulates this sort of business and have been told that the gentleman who deals with this such matters will be back tomorrow.

Today I received a sticker for Heart UK not the most well know charity, who use the same firm, again making a vague statement of how much will go to charity, a couple of days after the British Heart Foundation left a collection bag. 

No doubt everything is above board, but if you believe charity begins at home it's probably best to drop off donations directly to charity shops. Rather than arrange to have stuff picked up by a business with and proceeds going overseas to charity which you,ve probably never heard.

Don't get me wrong business is business, and they probably collect more donations for charity, than might otherwise be the case, and the clothes collected are generally sold off to the third world, but that said lets make sure charities get the most out of the deal.

*Finally FRSB recommends "There should also be clear information about what proportion of the proceeds will go to the charity" The company issuing these bags as per picture give only a vague indication.


  1. I once applied for a job with a well known charity that has its own shops and was told the collector gets paid £5 for every bag they collect. Its big business to the shop but then I find out each shop donated circa £20K a year to the charity for the use of the name the rest they keep for themselves. don't pay full business rates and mostly run by volunteers. how to make money!!

  2. Help The Aged were paying a few years ago about £40 to distribute about 250 bags and collect back those left out. Out of that the collector paid his own diesel, insurance and vehicle costs.

  3. These firms are just as bad as charity muggers that plague out high streets. I read yesterday that the company behind these people receive the first years income from any direct debits that re signed.

  4. The charity shop (one of the biggest on the high street) I volunteer at (and we're all unpaid), get 60p a kilo for 'ragged' clothing. We don't do door-to-door or post bags, as the returns are so poor these days we actually loose money. We also find that donations left at the shop door are either stolen (3-4 bags every night - police confirm a red transit does both side of the high street most nights, taking EVERY bag they find and then flytipping what they can't sell), or are left but ransacked for anything sellable on ebay/bootfairs. We're even suffering shoplifters these days. I've checked and over the last 7 days, we've had 27 items of clothing stolen off the rails! We don't chug...

  5. if they are stupid enough to quote 'registered charity' numbers e.g. 05496347, look it up online: It's amazing how many don't exist, fail to publish accounts, or are dissolved companies.