#IHeartCharityShops Campaign


We launched our #IHeartCharityShops campaign at the recent Charity Retail Association conference. Everyone we spoke to loved the idea and it was fantastic to see our badges popping up on delegates, speakers, suppliers and the CRA team over the 2 days.

Lots of people also told us why they love charity shops in our competition and we were overwhelmed by the responses. We’ve shared some of our favourites on Twitter so take a look at our feed   and see if yours is there.

It was interesting to see several themes emerging from the replies – and we thought sharing these would give charity retailers some great things to talk about with teams and supporters.

  1. Environment

#IHeartCharityShops because ….we are saving the world one T shirt at a time!

–       Lauren Gardner, Royal Trinity Hospice

Although charity shops have been doing great things for the environment for the last 100 years, we’ve not really shouted about it too much until now. The more urgent messages around climate change and the ‘Blue Planet effect’ have brought care for our environment to the fore recently and we are in a fantastic position to remind people of how brilliant charity shops are for the planet. The Charity Retail Association has produced a great quick reference guide to help us all tell the story: https://www.charityretail.org.uk/charity-shops-the-environment/ – why not download it and share it with all of your shops so your teams are briefed and ready to talk to their customers and donors about the difference they are making.

2. Volunteers

#IHeartCharityShops because ….they are the ultimate gift shops, full of kind gifts of time, talent and stuff!

– Lily Caswell, Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity

The charity retail sector now has 230,000 volunteers working in its shops – an absolute wealth of talent, skills, experience and diversity. Recognising the value and skills of our volunteers is vital – as is acknowledging their contribution and saying thank you. We love to promote and champion volunteers and volunteering at the Consultancy and have written several blogs on the subject. You can read them here: http://thecharityretailconsultancy.co.uk/blog/

3. Value for Money

#IHeartCharityShops because ….I would only be walking around in my underwear!!!

–       Linda Ewen, Highland Hospice

We loved this comment from Linda – and it really does tell the story of how you can get great bargains charity shops. We all know the buzz of how it feels to bag a bargain – and our customers love it as much as we do. With financial pressures and uncertainty around Brexit, the UK public are thinking hard about how and where they spend their money – so letting them know what great deals they can get from your shops is a no brainer.

4. Shop Quirky

#IHeartCharityShops because….I can be an individual and not see myself walking down the street!

–       Louise Broadstock, ValleyCIDS

We’ve all seen the change over recent years in how charity shops present themselves – we now embrace our differences, show how quirky and different we are – and our customers love it! We think that the sector started to realise we could do things differently after Jayne (then Head of Retail for Save the Children) worked with Mary Portas to develop the Mary’s Living & Giving brand. Since then, so much has changed and we’ve seen from the WOW! Awards how inventive and creative our sector really is. Combine this with a generation of people who all want to express their individuality and we can see a match made in heaven. Using social media platforms – especially Instagram – to show off your best pieces and help people see how charity shop shopping really does help to create a unique look – is a great idea. There is also an excellent Facebook group called Charity Retail Visual Merchandising and Display where shop teams share pictures of their windows and interiors, providing a wealth of ideas and inspiration. At the Consultancy we offer training and support around how to use social media to your advantage within your chains, so do get in touch if you want to know more.

5. Community

#IHeartCharityShops because….communities need craziness, creativity, mixed cultures and caring people to spread the love!

– Samuel Cousins, Shelter

Samuel cleverly captures the importance of charity shops within their communities with his phrase. Being at the heart of our communities is vital for the sector – the relationship is a mutually beneficial one, giving and receiving on both sides. We provide opportunities for volunteering, employment, social interaction, great value goods, a buoyant high street – and as we heard in the conference sessions from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland – increasingly we are offering our charity’s services directly from our shops. In return, we receive goods, time, skills, energy, custom, publicity and a whole heap of love from those around us. Making your shops truly part of the community is great for everyone.


All in all, there were loads of brilliant reasons for people to say #IHeartCharityShops. Why not ask your customers, donors, staff and volunteers why they Heart them too and share their stories in your shop windows and on social media? Let’s keep it trending and let everyone know just how wonderful charity shops are.

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