Charity Shop Volunteers Fall as Spending Increases

Aug 17, 2021
Author: Simon Bladen
Simon is one of the firm's Audit Partners. Simon is responsible for looking after the firm’s legal, charitable and not-for-profit clients.
Charity shop volunteers

Since the start of the pandemic, it is estimated that charity shops have lost approximately 45,000 volunteers according to the Charity Retail Association (CRA). Compared to 2019 volunteer numbers have decreased by around 20%. With charity shop spending increasing by around 16% year on year, this has left some charity shops struggling with staffing issues.


Charity shop volunteers have decreased

Before the first national lockdown in 2020, there were a total of 233,000 volunteers who worked in charity shops across the UK. With volunteers now down by around 20%, many charities are struggling to replace volunteers who are yet to return. However, those volunteers who have returned have been doing a great job since reopening with many shops now outperforming pre-covid sales with fewer staff. Charities are hoping that charity shop volunteers will start returning once the pandemic calms and the vaccine rollout progresses. However, health concerns are worrying factors for the elderly and clinically vulnerable who may understandably not feel comfortable returning to volunteering at this moment in time. In addition, lockdown may have caused some volunteers to find new interests which reduces their likelihood of returning.


Charitable donations increase by 16%

Data from Nationwide has shown that charity shop spending and charitable donations have risen dramatically between April and June 2021. Nationwide transactions showed that charitable spending increased by 16% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter. This included charity shop spending, donations, and direct debits. This shows that charities have seen a much-needed lift in donations in the second quarter of 2021, especially welcome after over a year of various lockdown measures that prevented charities from maintaining previous levels of fundraising.


How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of charity accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. At Hawsons we recognise that not-for-profit organisations have very different requirements from other businesses and are currently exposed to a challenging economic climate.

Our dedicated team fully understands the complex, ever-changing regulatory requirements of the charity and not-for-profit sector. Irrespective of your size we wish to support you to maximise the benefits you could achieve through our specialist professional advice.

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Simon Bladen


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