Buying charity cards is a great way to spread a little extra seasonal good will around at Christmas time. But how much do the charities make from your cards?

It all depends on where you buy them...

BEST BET... to buy cards direct from the charity themselves, either from their catalogue or from their shops in the High Street. That way, they get all the money from the cards, which works out - after production and distribution cost - that about 75p of every pound you spend goes straight to the work of the charity.


...are cards bought from the Cards for Good Causes Shops. They are a non profit-making co-ordinating agency which last year raised over £4 million for participating charities. These are the shops that pop up in churches, libraries, tourist information centres in the weeks leading up to Christmas. They give 81p out of every £ to the participating charities, which means, after production costs, about 56p of every pound straight to the work of the charity.


...The Greetings Card Company, run by a tiny team of four people from offices near the Royal Mail sorting office in Newcastle sells a whole range of charity cards - birthday, occasion, etc. over the Internet. Most of their cards raise 15 per cent of their price as royalties for charity, but this year they have put the royalty on personalised cards up to 25 per cent. This year they hope to raise more than £150,000 for charities. They also sell the charities' own cards for which the charities get 66 per cent of the selling price.


...These are the packs of cards you can find in high street stores alongside the regular cards. Many of these are sold through Helpcards, an organisation which benefits 33 charities, large and small. They give ten per cent of the cards' purchase price cost to a long list of charities. Last year they raised £180,000. But the good thing about these cards is that they involve the charity in no cost or risk. They also reach a far wider market than the charity's own cards and are bought by people who might not otherwise bother.

Barnardo's sells Christmas cards through a variety of outlets and altogether the cards raise around £250,000 for their work with children and families.

David Roxburgh, General Manager of Barnard Trading says: "A high percentage of the profit from the sale of our own cards comes directly to Barnardo's so these offer the best value for money to the customer. We would encourage people to buy our cards directly from us through our shops, Christmas catalogue or through our Internet shop. If people are unable to by cards directly from Barnardo's, then those on sale through other outlet are a helpful alternative."


Helpcards are available from independent retailers. Other stores selling cards with royalties to charity include Marks and Spencer, WH Smith, Sainsbury.


...have shops this year at:

DURHAM Tourist Information Centre; LEYBURN Tourist Information Centre; NEWCASTLE St Thomas Church, Haymarket; RICHMOND Tourist Information Centre; SCARBOROUGH Central Library; YORK St Martin's, Coney Street.


Most of the major charities have their own trading website where you can buy cards. Also is the site for the Greetings Card Company. is a combined charities Christmas card shop which started in a small way in Cheshire 30 years ago and last year launched themselves on the Internet.

Run entirely by volunteers, everyone involved gives their services free. More than 60 charities receive 100 per cent of their sales - the same as if they were selling direct themselves.

Published: 23/11/2001