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From Cash Mobs to Cause Mobs

John Thompson | 9 July 2013 | Blogs

A “cash mob” involves a group of people coming together en masse to spend an agreed amount at a local independent shop. Often organised via Twitter, the idea is to promote the importance of shopping locally and give an unsuspecting shop owner a welcome boost and a splash of publicity.

For example, last week, on Retail Independents’ Day (4th July), community action group We Will Gather, organised a cash mob to encourage people to shop in Rochdale’s town centre, much to the delight of local traders. Back in May, 20 cash mobbers, each with £20 ready to spend, gave the owner of Sheels Books for Children a welcome, though tear-jerking, financial boost. The Enfield Independent reported the owner’s response as: “When I realised what was happening I was totally shocked and surprised.  I welled up and tears started coming down my face.”


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#wewillgather cash mob in Worthing

Whilst initially slow to take off this side of the pond, cash mobs appear out of nowhere on a regular basis throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Some groups plump for a “guerrilla giving” slant on the craze, unleashing a simultaneous stimulation of generosity on a local cause. Something that I reckon our network of fabulous charity shops, where bargains can be found all year round, could be taking advantage of!

Indeed, as well as making en masse purchases,  mobbers could also donate high quality stock at the same time; perhaps unwanted goods they’ve replaced during the likes of Black Friday?

It’s so simple: People gather, give and get. Everybody wins!

So, whether your charity has just one or 400 retail outlets, it could be a good time to start a new fundraising trend and encourage your individual and corporate supporters to organise a cash mob.  Or call it a “cause mob” if you like.

So what are you waiting for?


Main image: Rob van Esch /