Would you give a special discount to a Charity?

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Glenn is a regular TameBay reader and today shares his personal experience of trading with Charities on eBay.

This morning I received an email from an apparent ‘Charity’ representative asking if I could give a special discount on a number of items. This is not the first such email I have received and I thought I would share my thoughts on the matter.

Firstly I personally support several charities and believe that giving by either donating or fund raising is a good thing. My favourite charity shop gets all my unwanted stock and returns and I will continue to support those charities which have significance to me.

I don’t donate a percentage of sales income to any of the charities available through eBay because I prefer to keep business and my charity work separate.

One American customer who I communicated with sent me $100 via my Paypal selling account for one of my charities which he also supports. The money was very welcome but it created a minor blip in my accounts and although not currently VAT registered I wouldn’t want to reach the threshold because I had combined business and charity fund raising.

I also didn’t want to engage in emails back and forth with this apparent ‘Charity’ representative to verify if they were legitimate, and to be quite honest their record of feedback left for others put me right off the possibility of dealing with them.

I believe that although business should support charities there should be clear distinction between the two.

Editors Note: Glenn is correct about the complications of charity fund raising/donations from a tax perspective. If you want to make charitable donations from your business you will need to read up on the HM Revenue & Customs documents “Gifts to charity made by companies” and “VAT implications of Giving to Charity by Businesses“. In fact any disposal (including giving away) of business assets is normally considered as supplying goods and you will have to account for VAT on the disposal.
It is often simpler, as Glenn suggests, to make a personal donation with Gift Aid or to specifically list items on eBay with a donation through listed on your personal eBay account, not your business selling account.

4 Responses

  1. If I was interested in a particular Charity I would certainly think about it. After all as I Wholesale(nowhere near as much as I used to years ago) as well asa retailer. On some items I have more than the usual Traders Mark-up and of course there is another point and that is in regard to quantities. With Wholesale Discount if it was only for one or two there is really little that I can do but if the order came to several hundred pounds then I could very well do something. But I would have to think about it carefully.

    There is another point about Charities. I regularly get phone calls from “Charities” asking for Donations or trying to sign me or the business up to this or that scheme for donating to the Charity or buying tickets in their particular Lottery or whatever. I make it a rule always to say No. Why? Well to start with I know and support particular charities and I cannot afford to support them all. Also on the phone it is difficult, if not impossible, to actually judge that they are genuine Charities and not some sort of scam. Also I did once question the caller only to learn that they were on a Commission based upon the monies that they generated from their phone calls. In this regard I got the impression that it was a Commercial Company using a Charities name rather than the Charity itself. So all things considered I decided to always say No in regard to calls for money. But I could be convinced to give a Charity a special discount on an order.

  2. I’m cautious about these phone calls, we already donate personally to a few charities but they seem to be coming at us from all angles these days, and I know one Worcester based charity where the guy running it is making a fortune and I don’t feel it’s appropriate to donate to a charity that I’m not familier with.


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