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Harrods wins Scrooge Award for charity Christmas cards again


The Charities Advisory Trust has announced Harrods as the winner of the 2008 Scrooge Award for high street retailers that give to charity less than 10% of the purchase price on charity Christmas cards.

The Charities Advisory Trust (CAT) surveys all main high street shops which offer ‘charity’ Christmas cards at the end of October and beginning of November. It runs the awards “to alert the public to the sham of cards purporting to be charity cards where less than 10% of the purchase price actually goes to charity”.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

This is the third year running that Harrods has won the award. CAT said that, of their range of charity cards (174 designs), “82% gave under 10% to charity. A startling 46% gave less than 5%”.

Harrods told UK Fundraising last year: “Retailers do not set the level of donation – which is clearly marked on the packaging – this is negotiated and agreed between the card manufacturer and the charities who, one assumes, enter into these arrangements willingly with full possession of the facts and are grateful for the money the donations deliver.”

Each year CAT names the card which includes the least donation to charity. This year that card was found in Harrods. A Special Editions card, in aid of Save the Children and British Heart Foundation, printed in China and on sale for 30p a card, it yielded just 3.9% for the charities.

Christmas at Harrods

The Georgy Porgy award for Greed goes to Cards Galore, which has 45 branches. CAT noted that 147 out of 171 of their range of charity cards gave less than 10% to charity. Since the majority of their cards were printed in China, low costs were not benefiting the charities.

CAT runs the Card Aid chain of temporary Christmas shops. It guarantees that a minimum of 25% goes back to charity for each pack sold. Indeed, it adds that “past performance shows between 40 – 60% of the cost of the card goes to charity”.

CAT points out that “now you can pay very little to get the cachet of a charity card, but charities suffer the loss of income. You can buy charity cards for as little as 5p. This means less than ½p a card to charity, and undermines real charity Christmas cards, squeezing out the charities”.

Large charities can be to blame, they admit. “It is the big, national charities that get the licensing deals, which makes the fact they agree to such poor deals even more surprising”. CAT sees this as seeking short-term gain while undermining their own market.