eBay for Charity 2008: Let’s look at the Totaliser

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totalisereBay.co.uk has released information regarding the continued success of ‘eBay for Charity‘, the service that helps charities and fundraisers sell on eBay for good causes.

eBay users raised almost £3.5m for charity in 2008 (£770,000 of that in December alone). The feature in Checkout that allows a buyer to donate a quid to a featured charity, which was launched in November, has (rather surprisingly) already raised £300k

3000 registered charities are now signed up for the programme with 70% of charity shops selling on eBay.  Some leading charity shops are apparently raising well over £100,000 each year on eBay.

Regrettably, there is no news regarding rumours that eBay will be setting up a charitable foundation to bail out impecunious, credit-crunched eBay sellers. The plan is reportedly codenamed ‘Project Workhouse’.

10 Responses

  1. charities are as much involved with finance and banking as RBS are

    and the above figures show charity is an industry as much as any other

  2. I would wager a small amount of money that the charity that has done best of all out of this initiative is the Points of Light Foundation, the charity behind MissionFish.

  3. Norf (or indeed anyone): Charity shops (esp those turning over 100k, with at least some volunteer staff and a great deal of donated stock): do they pay rates, corporation tax etc?


  4. From memory, charity shops certainly used to be exempt from business rates and charities are exempt from corporation tax. If the shops are run through a trading company, rates are probably payable and corporation tax is payable on any profits made by the company but these are then usually covenanted on to the charity and exempted that way.

  5. not quite sure about corporation tax Dan

    though often they rent shops cut price or for nothing
    they often pay little or no business rates ,

    when charities compete directly with legitimate business its unfair
    charities are now biggest name in retail on many high streets
    and by the looks of it , soon to be biggest sellers on ebay

  6. The annoying thing with charity shops is the saying
    “all our profits go to charity”

    But, its impossible to get a definition of profit, and norf has it spot on
    They have a competitive advantage,

    I have mixed feelings, especially when their stock is donated BNWT direct from the shops on the High Street – great for the charity, nightmare for the small retailer,

    Suz x

  7. Hi Dan – nice to have you on board!

    Having temped as admin staff in a stockbrokers that dealt with charities (several million pounds of funds per charity) and more recently as an ex-charity shop manager (and yes it was one of the big ones!) I know for a fact that charities are very wealthy – far better off than almost anyone on the high street at the moment.

    Charities do generally pay full rent and most other bills as would any company. However they do not pay VAT on donated goods or any corporation tax on sales from donated goods. They manage to get so much free advertising and other goodies (my shop got a brand new fitted carpet while I was there) that their overheads are far less than normal shops.

    Also the high street shops donate hardly anything to the actual charity – maybe 15% of their takings at most. The shops are seen as the charities face to the public and so are not required to provide much income to be kept open.

  8. Emily,

    Very illuminating. I must say that I have heard (from a source I trust) that one big charity’s shops, run at barely 10% profit.

    I must say, on a personal level, that I am slightly bewildered that the top-end don’t pay rates, especially when competing with small local businesses.


  9. Re #2 : The Points of Light Foundation/Missionfish – I wonder how much ‘profit’ they make, or more to the point how much the directors earn ?. Yes, I know the charities they support gain, but how much does the the Points of Light Foundation gain ?

    Re #7: Yes, charities are BIG business, I forget the exact amount, but the Cats Protection League had (or still has) uber £millions tied up with the Icelandic bank saga!


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