Retailers and their customers raised £540 million for good causes in the last financial year, British Retail Consortium (BRC) stated on Tuesday (24).
The report – Supporting Charities, Communities and Customers – provides an analysis of UK retailers’ charitable giving for the first time. It also finds that in 2022-23, retailers raised £200m for good causes through fundraising, with an additional £150m donated directly by the businesses themselves.
A total of 69m meals and £76m worth of products were donated to charities and organisations supporting those in need. Colleagues across the industry volunteered 1.7m hours of time supporting retail community programmes while colleagues also donated £20m through payroll donation schemes.
This is despite economic headwinds and a rise in the cost-of-living, which have seen retailers’ profit margins squeezed and consumers keeping a closer eye on their finances. Thousands of charities have benefitted from the efforts of retailers, their colleagues and customers.
2022 saw UK retailers donate huge amounts – both cash and emergency goods – to support the Ukrainian people in the aftermath of the Russian invasion. Many retailers also set up fundraising efforts so that customers could offer their support, often matching donations to amplify the impact. Overall, tens of millions of pounds were donated to this vital cause.
The report also shines a spotlight on the exemplary work taking place within retail to support colleagues and the role of micro-donation technology. The industry’s charity – the Retail Trust – works with colleagues and businesses to promote physical, mental and financial wellbeing. Micro-donations – facilitated by Pennies – act as a digital version of the traditional charity box, giving people the option to make a small donation when paying by card or phone, in-store, or at an online checkout.
Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said, “It is fantastic to see the scale of support that retailers, colleagues and customers have given to good causes in the last year, despite the tough economic landscape. Whether fundraising in stores & online, making salary donations, or volunteering time for local projects, retailers are helping their communities in a wealth of ways.
“New micro-donation technology is making it even easier for customers to support good causes, while the industry’s own charity – The Retail Trust – is delivering a wide range of services and training to support the welfare of everyone working in retail. Retailers’ focus has always extended beyond the bottom line. They recognise the opportunity that the scale of the industry presents in having a wider impact on our society and this report shows they are making a real difference right across the country.”
Chris Brook-Carter, Chief Executive of the Retail Trust, said, “Half of retailers are now seeing a rise in absences due to mental health issues, with the high cost-of-living and a surge in abuse and retail crime contributing to deteriorating wellbeing across the sector. And we’re seeing this reflected in the calls coming through to the Retail Trust’s wellbeing helpline, the counselling sessions we’re delivering, and the more than £650,000 we gave out in financial aid in the last year alone.
“But we remain inspired by the more than 200 employers we’re working with who are also taking tremendous efforts to improve wellbeing; by delivering more training, using data to better understand how their workforces are feeling and by empowering their people to protect their mental, physical and financial health. Together, they are creating happier and healthier retail workplaces and contributing to a sustainable and successful future for our industry.”
Alison Hutchinson CBE, Chief Executive of Pennies, said, “Well done to the BRC for preparing and releasing this report so we can bring a spotlight to the fantastic support the retail sector has for the voluntary sector. At Pennies we are making it easy for retailers to enable digital micro-donations and are welcoming a growing number of new partners across all retailing channels. Indeed, we have seen digital micro-donations grow by over 45% year on year despite the challenging economic climate showing the generosity of retailers and their customers.”