If like us you are torn every year by the desire to communicate with your loved ones and friends during the festive period, and the unnecessary waste that is inevitably produced by the tradition that involves writing a big pile of cards, putting them in an envelope, stamping, addressing and posting them, then you will probably do what we do, which is try to offset that guilt in the hope that others will benefit from your actions in the form of a charity christmas card. Of course, the retailers are very well aware of the dilemma we feel, and cash in at every opportunity!
All Charity Christmas cards are definitely NOT equal. It is a massive market with many variations on how donations are calculated and most importantly communicated. Some retailers, usually specialist ones, do indeed give generously, sometimes as much as 100% of the purchase price, with others giving a proverbial nod of the head to the charity with whom they wantonly choose to associate themselves largely for their own benefit.
Perplexed every year by the array and overwhelming variety in front of us, we have finally sat down and done the sums! We have scoured the high streets, internet and leading retailers to see what they are unto and help you make the most informed decision you can. That is not to say that we haven’t missed anything, a particular charity or a particular variation on a theme, but we have certainly got a good idea of the general way of things! So errors and omissions excepted, here is what we discovered!
Our calculations have been made as far as possible, on donation per card. So if you are sending 50 Christmas cards for instance, at least you then know that your chosen charity will receive 50 x the donation per card. Percentages are often meaningless and price per packs are largely irrelevant too and we believe are often there to throw you off the scent.
Beware the big boys! Most of the supermarkets have a very limited range of charity christmas cards, and many of them choose to make a one off donation rather than go to the bother of donating according to volume of sales. Tesco’s for instance, donate £300,000 in total split between 2 charities – British Diabetic Association and the British Heart Foundation – in association with their Christmas card sales. For the sake of argument, we worked out that if they had assumed a 5p donation per card, which is about average although not terribly generous, they would have sold 300,000 packs of cards. We think they probably sell considerably more than that, but how can we possibly know! These are their chosen charity partners for everything, but that doesn’t make it right now does it. Here is the rundown of the biggest retailers in the land for your perusal! Make of it what you will!
- Tesco – £300,000 split between the British Diabetic Association and British Heart Foundation
- Co-op – 7% of their net income to Fair Share
- Lidl – 8% of their income to Clic Sargeant
- Aldi – 25% to Princes Trust and Banardos
- Morrisons – £50,000 lump sum to Sue Ryder Association
- Marks and Spencer – 20% donation on their own brand range of cards to Unicef, MacMillan and Breakthrough Breast Caner
- John Lewis – 25% on their own brand range to Age UK, and 10% on their extensive charity range to various other charities.
- Ocado – appear to have a very limited stock of Christmas cards available.
- Waitrose – will have a similar range and policy to John Lewis.
- WH Smith – 100% of their Children in Need range, and 10-20% on others.
- Sainsbury’s – the Scrooge of them all – don’t appear to be doing anything, but don’t quote me on that!
All or some of the above will no doubt sell various ranges, but pick carefully and be aware of their overall policy!
What we have really discovered is that you are generally best to go to the charity direct. They specify all of 100% of profits in most cases, and you can only assume that they will give themselves the best deal. You can usually do this online or via one of their own shops in high street.
There are also a number of speciality Charity Christmas Card retailers out there – more of that later. They usually give the charity a much greater bang for their buck than a high street retailer will. Some will produce packs for a specific charity, and some will support a whole raft of charities, but the volume they sell and the convenience they offer charities, makes it a worthwhile avenue for those charities, and is a safe bet.
But if you do find yourself in the High Street, or your favourite card shop completely baffled for choice, you may like to refer to this Charity Xmas Cards by Charity 2015! Be careful as well, because a particular manufacturer may sell several different packs of cards in a particular shop and they will not all be sold for charity!
Or if you have a favourite charity you like to support, you will find a. where you can buy their cards, and b. which retailer is giving most generously in their honour!
Here is our Top of the Pops and Top Tips on the High Street:
- Number one is the WH Smith who offer 100% of the profits for their Children in Need range, but it is a very limited range! And they only offer 10% on their other ranges which only works out at 3p per card!!!
- On some of their ranges John Lewis will actually give up to 13p per card – 25% of their own brand range goes to Age UK. Most of their ranges offer between 4p and 8p per card which is pretty good, and sometimes up to 11p per card.
- Marks and Spencer offer 20% to their two charities which works out at about 5-8p per card.
- Clintons offer what sounds like a generous 15% but that only equates to 4p per card.
- Likewise a lot of the per pack prices, 20p per pack is only usually about 4p per pack, but that is easy to work out.
The rule of thumb in our view though, is try to work out the donation per card! That should help you see your way clear to a responsible charity Christmas card purchase! Good luck! I’m going for a lie down and will not be sending any Christmas cards this year!