A Thank You Letter From My Local Charity Shop

Miss Thrifty15 March 25, 2013

Earlier this year I donated a carrier bag full of clothes and bric-a-brac to a local branch of the British Heart Foundation. I was running errands in my lunch and didn’t have a lot of time to spare, so when the nice lady behind the counter produced a form and asked me to fill it in, I scribbled my way through it.

It turns out that because I filled out the form, the British Heart Foundation was able to claim Gift Aid of 20 per cent on the value of my donations. How good is that? I have donated to charities via Gift Aid when visiting attractions and sponsoring friends for fundraising events, but I didn’t know that Gift Aid could also be claimed on the things I give to charity shops. The minute it took to fill out that form was time well spent. The lady behind the counter gave me a membership card so that next time, I can just drop and run.

A few weeks later, this came through the post:

british heart foundation donation

It’s a letter from the British Heart Foundation, telling me how much my donations raised. Fifty quid for my old stuff. Who would have thought it?

I loved getting this letter: it is a simple touch, but one that makes me want to give again. Even though giving to charity is its own reward, it is satisfying to know just how much your unwanted items have raised for a good cause. Usually my donated items disappear into the charity shop abyss, which I am fine with, but I must admit that this letter gave me a warm glow.

Oh, and I should add: back in the shop when I was filling out the form, they asked me if I preferred to be contacted by post or email. I said post, because I hate my inbox filling up with spam and waffle. I didn’t know that the charity was going to send me such a personal letter though, so now I feel bad. I could have saved them the price of a stamp!

Are other charity shops doing this too? I know the British Heart Foundation is more of a well-oiled machine than my local hospice shops, but this is the first time I have come across the scheme. I suppose that with purse-strings tightening and donations to charity falling, the charities are doing all they can to get the most out of every donation and donor, from Gift Aid to membership cards. I don’t blame them.

Did you enjoy this post?

Free Daily Digest

15 Responses to “A Thank You Letter From My Local Charity Shop

catherine says:

That is so lovely! If I got a letter from my donations I would be much more inclined to do it again and sort stuff out to donate. That’s a great sum your stuff made :)

March 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Joan says:

Our hospice shop has been doing this for a couple of years. I was amazed and then dismayed because of the additional burden of sending letters. Turns out they HAVE to notify us, part of the Revenue’s laws. I asked our MP about it – he didn’t know anything about it despite being a Treasury man – I have decided to ‘nag’ him by sending an email about it every time I get a letter from the charity – if it was made optional I would rather the charity saved the admin money. They could email me – I am suggesting that they do that instead of mail. Maybe I’ll get someone to change something if I carry on for a decade!

March 26, 2013 at 3:12 am

Zoe says:

I’ve had a letter from BHF before too. It is lovely to know your donations have been some use! Oxfam have a donor gift aid card too, but I’ve not had a letter yet… Zoe x

March 26, 2013 at 7:53 am

Sandy says:

Such a simple thing – saying thank you and telling you how your donation has been used – what a great idea. It makes it personal, which is something we all respond to.

March 26, 2013 at 8:38 am

Ann says:

Where a charity shop offers a Gift Aid scheme I would urge anyone who is a taxpayer to sign up for it. It is so quick and easy to do and really benefits the charity. We have several in our town which offer this scheme, Helen and Douglas House (a local Oxfordshire charity) being one and the Oxfam bookshop being another. Next time you are donating and get asked please say yes to this excellent scheme.

March 26, 2013 at 9:06 am

Sally Parker says:

I, too, have had similar letters – I think it’s wonderful, and am always amazed at how much they are able to raise from my unwanted items.

I think these letters are part of the rules for the Gift Aid scheme – the ones I get always say that they are obliged to offer me the money that they have raised from selling ‘my’ items (does anyone ever ask for the money? – I hope not!) and that if I do not claim it, it will go into their funds.

Gift Aid is amazing! The small branch of the hospice shop that I use got more than £7000 back from the taxman last year, so please use Gift Aid whenever you can!

March 26, 2013 at 9:19 am

Jill Moulton says:

Yes, Age UK also sends a ‘Thank you’ letter & let’s you know how much your items have raised.

March 26, 2013 at 9:35 am

Naiomi says:

It is good they do gift aid, I donate alot of clothing to charity but not british heart foundation there mark up prices on used clothing is a scandel, There also ment to be helping though’s less fortunate who can not afford brand new clothing or on a very tight budget, They are the highest marked charity shops around there was a Next suit for £20 primark clothing a dress i brought new myself for £9 was selling for £6 and babys asda t-shirts 0.99p that are £2.50 to start with. Maybe it is just me but can’t justify them price’s……….Maybe it’s to pay the £25,000+ a year wage there charity shop managers are on, twice my full time wage. X

March 26, 2013 at 11:07 am

Bernadette Sheppard says:

I received a similar letter from the PDSA. It certainly brings home how much your unwanted items are valued by the charity shops. A very good idea.

March 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

Hannah says:

My mother received one a while ago from Keech Hospice Care Shop. She too loved it and says she will always donate there now. It’s the personal touch and knowing exactly how much your donations have helped. It’s also made me donate much more to charity rather than ebaying everything.

March 26, 2013 at 11:23 am

Shell says:

Barnado’s do this and I get regular emails from them. Good to know other Charities are doing it.

March 27, 2013 at 1:18 am

Carolyn says:

Don’t they have to let you know? They get the equivalent of basic rate tax back but if you’re a higher rate tax payer you can claim the difference on your Self Assessment form so you need to know the amounts involved.
It is nice to know that your cast-offs can raise money but an email option for notifying you of the amount would be an option I would prefer.

March 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Rob says:

It’s lovely to get a letter – as a couple of other commenters have said, it’s actually a legal requirement because people are allowed to change their mind or ask for the money themselves! (bizarre, I know).

However, that doesn’t get away from the fact, it’s fab to get a letter telling you how much your stuff raised :)

March 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

sally m says:

Two things are impressive about this post…
Firstly the whole fact they sent you a letter etc etc
Secondly that unlike me you have clearly not inherited the hoarding gene from our hoarding parents that i seem to have inherited!

March 30, 2013 at 2:31 am

Claire says:

The letters as sent out by charities because they HAVE to offer you the money back if they wish to claim gift aid on the sale of your donation (Check the back of your letter, the details will be there!).
In order for them to claim the gift aid back from the things they sell, they must become an ‘agent’ acting on behalf of the donor. When they sell an item they have to offer the money back to the donor who can then chose to donate it BACK to the charity with the gift aid amount.
HMRC announced they are simplifying things from April 2013.
Them saying thank you is just a nice touch (and I’d guess it also encourages people to allow the charity to keep the money, and to donate again – and quite rightly so). :)

April 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Leave a reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *