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Christmas looks a little different this year so #GoodCauseSantaClaus is #NeverMoreNeeded

3 December 2020

With the Covid crisis stifling charity retail activities at the most crucial trading period of the year, we like many of the charities we support, have had to adapt our annual Christmas campaign, #GoodCauseSantaClaus. Usually centred around buying Christmas presents from high street charity shops, this year’s campaign looks a little different in order to reflect an unprecedented festive sales scenario.

It’s estimated that charity shops in England will have lost c. £91.8m in total for the 28 days of the second lockdown. So, with this second closure of charity shops, we launched a campaign that encourages the public to be a #GoodCauseSantaClaus and purchase charity Christmas cards online, direct from charities themselves. A simple idea designed to ensure the maximum income generated from these sales goes to the causes they support.

Charities are facing uncertain times – so we adapted

It goes without saying that the first lockdown caused a significant loss of revenue for most charities, in part due to the closure of charity shops. Other income streams were also affected, such as sporting and social events. Charities are operating on low resources, at a time when they are most needed. This is a huge issue for the sector, but also presents opportunities to be creative and resourceful…

Christmas cards are hot news

Figures released by John Lewis state that online card sales are up by over 200%. This is supported by the latest Google data, which shows the Covid crisis has brought a rise in demand for Christmas cards, with 2020 already well above 2019. We believe that this is as a result of people being kept apart for much of the year, emphasising the value of family and friends and staying connected.

If this year has taught us anything – it’s that collaboration is key

When the second lockdown was announced, our small but agile team quickly devised a new game plan. We reached out to our membership to ask them to join the reimagined #GoodCauseSantaClaus campaign and then curated our directory. Over 100 of our charity members, that’s one quarter of membership so far, have contributed to the directory of Christmas card online sales, which take the user directly to the charities’ website or online sales platform.

Visual assets were created, and the campaign was launched on social media and our website. We are encouraging our membership to share the posts to reach their supporters.

In turn, this has led to a brand new permanent directory of our members’ online shops, whether on their own website, eBay, Depop or other platforms, reflecting the accelerated turn of attention to embracing, developing and improving charity retail online operations as a whole.

Times are changing again

We recognise that the campaign needs to be flexible to adapt to the changing nature of the retail landscape, and we want to maximise sales for charity retail operations, to try and recoup some of the losses experienced this year. When shops are allowed to reopen, we will continue to encourage the public to purchase charity Christmas cards and other goods online, but we will also launch the second phase – the original, experiential phase, encouraging people to be a #GoodCauseSantaClaus by doing their Christmas shopping in charity shops.

With the stigma around second-hand diminishing, the rise of the sustainable consumer, the importance of considering the planet in everything we do, the financial hit that many people have taken, and as we know, charities are #NeverMoreNeeded, we want charity shops to be a Christmas shopping destination of choice for the UK consumer.

Image: Jill Wellington on Pexels



Susan Meredith

Deputy chief executive, Charity Retail Association

Susan has worked at the Charity Retail Association for 15 years, starting on membership and events, eventually leading on to the website, corporate membership, then in 2019 Deputy Chief Executive. She lives in south east London with her husband and nine year old daughter and admits to being a charity shop obsessive, with 90% of her wardrobe sourced second-hand!