Age UK has launched the appeal to boost donations to its network of charity shops and raise funds to provide support to older people across the UK.
The 2022 Challenge will run across the duration of 2022 and aims to help Age UK’s charity shops receive a target of at least 2.2 million bags of donations by the end of the year. The challenge has been put together to help Age UK’s retail estate become self-sufficient when collecting stock and improve overall sustainability. Funds raised will go towards services such as Age UK’s free national Advice Line and Telephone Friendship Services.
The charity also hopes to return to the record donations it saw following its shops reopening after the Covid-19 lockdowns, when numbers of donations were more than 35% higher than pre-lockdown levels.
Despite these record numbers immediately after the shops reopening, overall donations reduced over 2020 and 2021, largely due to a number of Age UK shops being closed due to the effects of the pandemic. This resulted in a 20% reduction in the numbers of bags donated in 2021 compared to 2019, when the charity received 2,034,908 bags in total. By extending the total target for 2022, it hopes to place the Age UK retail estate in a better position than before the pandemic.
The campaign will be heavily promoted in Age UK’s charity shops with point-of-sale materials including posters and thermometer trackers to review how many bags have been collected nationally, and staff and volunteers will be encouraging shop visitors to take part in the challenge. The charity will also be supporting the appeal with a range of activity designed to keep the 2022 Challenge front-of-mind throughout the year, including digital and social media activity, as well as targeted PR and marketing, and support from some of Age UK’s celebrity ambassadors.
Nick Smith, Director of Retail at Age UK, said:
“After a difficult couple of years, Age UK urgently needs to raise funds so it can continue its vital work supporting older people who have been affected by the pandemic. So we are excited to be launching our first-ever year-long retail campaign to boost stock generation and are on mission to collect more donation bags in 2022 than ever before.
“Our retail operations fundamentally changed during lockdown, with the removal of both internal and external stock collections, and by launching the 2022 Challenge, this will help us promote the growth of donations from our customers, local businesses, educational establishments, existing donors and the local community. The 2022 Challenge calls on everyone to donate at least two bags of unwanted, quality items to one of our many charity shops to help us reach our target of 2.2 million bags by the end of this year. As well as doing your bit for the environment by supporting the ‘recycle, reuse and reduce movement’, you will be helping Age UK – we’ll turn every bag into support for older people in the local community and across the UK.”
Age UK is also encouraging the public to make their donations worth an extra 25% by signing up to Gift Aid when they make a donation. The charity has over 250 shops across the UK.