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Charitydiscounts.org offers discounts to charity staff and volunteers

Howard Lake | 23 February 2004 | News

Virtue might be its own reward, but Charitydiscounts.org is trying to help those who do paid or unpaid work for charities save money on popular goods and services.

Staff at many commercial organisations often enjoy a whole range of benefits – reduced gym membership, financial services, corporate cars and so on. These, not surprisingly, tend not to be offered to staff or volunteers at charities.

Now there is a way for charity staff and volunteers to reap further material rewards from their work. Charitydiscounts.org is a new Web site that enables such staff to enjoy discounts on a range of services and products from major suppliers such as Sky, Thomas Cook, Dixons and Holmes Place.

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Free registration is required first, to ensure that only genuine charity staff and volunteers benefit. Then you can choose from the growing range of suppliers featured, covering communications, healthy and beauty, lifestyle, recreation and sports, travel, and finance. To enjoy your benefit you either have to remember a code listed on the page or simply click through to the relevant suppliers’ site and the reduction will be included in any purchase you make at the site.

The new service is provided by Charity Logistics, a support services charity, and Brinc Ltd, a supplier of lifestyle discounts to the public sector.

George Cook, Chief Executive of Charity Logistics, said: “we are constantly seeking eways to bring high quality discounted benefits and services to the voluntary sector. This is the first time that we have been able to offer a service directly to employees and volunteers. In general, salary levels within the sector are way below commercial rates and we hope this is one way in which we can redress the balance and say thank you for all their hard work.”

The number of companies listed on the site is beginning to grow already as more hear about the service. Currently there are 30 companies. Given the scale of the voluntary sector in terms of its paid employees and volunteers, the ability to reach those of them who use the Internet should make commercial sense to many suppliers. While affinity deals with charities are legion and some of them long-standing, they tend to focus on one charity’s supporters. Charitydiscounts.org takes the broader view, looking not at one charity’s donors but staff and volunteers at any and all charities.

The service might prove popular with charity human resources staff. Since most HR managers can’t offer benefits to staff, they could at least point their staff in the direction of the site.

UK Fundraising tested the service to buy some wines, and enjoyed a £20 off a case of wine. The ordering was straightforward since we simply had to redeem a code on the Virgin Wines site, and then complete the purchase in the usual way.

The new site has some weaknesses. It could be made more accessible – there are no ALT text tags to describe the graphics on the pages. There is no news section to indicate new suppliers or new services offered. More importantly you can not view or explore the suppliers listed without registering.

Nevertheless this is the first Web-based resource we’ve come across offering such a wide range of benefits specifically and exclusively to voluntary sector staff and volunteers.

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