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Charity Xmas card donations as low as 6.7%

Wide variation in shop support for charities

Some retailers are donating just 10% or less to good causes from the selling price of their charity Christmas cards, Which? research has found.

We looked at the charity Christmas cards on offer, both online and in store, from 15 leading high street retailers. Asda was the least generous of the bunch, selling charity cards costing £3, of which just 20p is donated to charity – working out at just 6.7% of the selling price. 

We also found that Sainsbury’s donates only 10% on all its charity cards, and Boots, Waitrose and WH Smith give 10% on most of the charity cards they offer. 

John Lewis was the most generous retailer by donation size; its charity cards include a donation worth 25% of the selling price. 

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Variation in Christmas card donations 

There are wide levels of variation in how much different retailers donate across their range of charity cards. Although Waitrose and WH Smith donate a smaller amount on most of their charity Christmas cards, both sell one pack of cards that donates 100% of the selling price to charity. We found that Paperchase donates between 45p and £1, depending on which pack of cards you buy. 

Some retailers, such as Marks and Spencer, only include donations on a selection of cards. Others include donations on all of their Christmas cards. John Lewis donates 25% of the selling price across its full range of own brand cards and Next donates 15% across all of its Christmas cards. 

Do donations include VAT?

Retailers also take different approaches about whether to include VAT or not in donations; some do, but some don’t. WH Smith does not include VAT in the donation, so cards promising a 100% donation provide only an 80% donation fee, and those offering 10% in effect donate 8% after VAT.

Some retailers told us that they don’t donate percentages of their card sales. Instead Morrisons told us that it will be giving a fixed donation of £50,000 to Save the Children funded by people purchasing its own-brand cards. And Tesco is guaranteeing a donation of £275,000 to Diabetes UK from the sales of its boxed Christmas cards.

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