How much goodwill is in charity Christmas cards- and when to post them

Yes we know it’s only November, but the last posting dates for Christmas will soon be upon us with some of them coming early in December (see below)- UK cards need to be posted by Saturday 19th (for second class) or Monday 21st for first class. And those are the dates for airmail (now catchily and informatively known as “International Standard” mail)- some surface mail last posting dates were as far back as September. So it’s not too early to be thinking about your Christmas cards and whether you go for charity cards or nice cards.


The pay off with Christmas cards is normally that they are funny/beautiful/cute or that they are charity cards- you can’t have your cake and eat it, even at Christmas. But if you are going to go for the charity cards at least you can relax knowing your money is going to a good cause right? Right?

Well, that depends. Depends on how much cash you think the charity is going to get from your card purchase. Our friends over at Which!!! have even investigated this matter for us and found that some retailers donate as little as 7% of profits from charity Christmas cards to good causes, meaning some charities only get around 10p per pack.

Top of the stingy stakes is the Co-op, who give just 10p from its £1.50 cards to food poverty charity FareShare. This is the equivalent of just 7% per pack. Lidl aren’t much better, with the equivalent of 8% (10p) of the £1.19 pack price going to child cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

The full list of donation amounts is found in the table below, and donations range from 100% for the WH Smith Children in Need cards, before dropping sharply to 25% from the next best donator, the ever-impressive Aldi. WH Smith appears three times as it has a number of different cards and donations.

table from Which?

You may also have spotted some notable exceptions from the list. Asda says that it is not selling charity Christmas cards this year and while Morrisons is selling cards for Sue Ryder, they will donate £50,000 to the charity regardless of how many packs are sold. Tesco is also selling a range of charity cards but will donate a total of £300,000 to Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation.

Of course, given the age of social media you could instead buy no cards and just post a cheesy video of you and your family pretending to be hyperactive elves on your page, donating the would-have-spent cash to charity instead. Or, if you must send a card, why not buy direct from the charity website as this will usually guarantee a greater proportion going to the actual charity- some sites, like the Parkinsons site promise 100% of profits will be received from the sale of cards.

Or, you could go totally Bah Humbug and do nothing at all. It’s not like you have any friends anyway…

What do you think?

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