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Not so charitable Christmas cards

Retailer pass on meagre profits to good causes

Ungenerous Christmas cards

Some of the donations on charity cards are less than generous

Shoppers who want to support good causes are being short charged by retailers who sell charity Christmas cards.

Which? Money has discovered that several big high street outlets are passing on as little as 10% of the purchase price for packs of charity Christmas cards to good causes. 

Whereas WH Smith can afford to give 70% of its Children in Need cards to the charity, others fall way short. Selfridges, John Lewis, Cards Galore and Boots all give 10% of the retail price to charity, Hallmark gives 11%, while BHS passes on 15% of the sale price and Paperchase passes on 17%.

John Lewis had a range of charity Christmas and greeting cards on offer, with the amount donated ranging between 25% and 10%. 

The full range of firms we looked out can be found in the table below. 

Charity Christmas cards are sold at a range of outlets. However, as the table shows, the amount that goes to good causes differs. We looked at a snapshot of the cards on offer – most donate between 10% and 25% of the sale price to charities. However, WHSmith and John Lewis both sold cards that varied considerably, so they feature twice.
Retailer Cost of card Amount donated Percentage donated
WH Smitha £4.99 £3.5 70%
Clintonsb £5 £1.25 25%
John Lewisc £5 £1.25 25%
WH Smithd £4.99 99p 20%
Paperchasee £3 50p 17%
BHSf £3.50 52p 15%
Hallmarkg £3.50 40p 11%
Bootsh £3.50 35p 10%
Cards Galorei £4.75 48p 10%
John Lewisj £3.75 38p 10%
Selfridgesk £3.50 35p 10%
Footnotes indicate the recipient charity from the selection of cards we looked at a Children in Need b Barnardos, Lewis Chair, British Heart Found c Childline, AgeUK, Shelter, Mencap d Look Good, Feel Better e Rainbow Trust f NSPCC g Barnardos h Macmillan i Children with Cancer j WaterAid k British Red Cross

Alternative giving may be better

Commenting on the findings,  Which? money expert Dan Moore said: ‘Shopper who are keen to donate money this Christmas would benefit charities most by buying their cards direct from charity shops. Alternatively, buy cheaper, non-charity cards and donate the change to your favoured good cause.’

More on this …

Salary sacrifice – How to give to charity through your wages

Tax savings – Read our guide to saving on tax

– How to get the most out of Christmas

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