Charity trading can be difficult to get started in. By beginning trading, you enter the world of commercial business and it can be tough to make that work alongside charity values and relevant charity regulations.
But it’s worth doing as it’s also an area where you can use your imagination to create something really special for your charity. Trading can be anything from the development of small selections of simple, branded items to full fundraising catalogues or a chain of thrift shops. As well as providing a valuable source of revenue, trading can help your charity gain visibility and spread its message. Through charity trading, you can reach more people and provide them with an easy way to engage with you and your work.
Trading can help your charity diversify the income and can provide a very valuable, stable source of revenue that will persist into the long-term. With increasing competition for grants and donations, charity trading can provide an additional source of income that is often less limited than the others.
While your competitors for donations and grants are other charities chasing the same people as you are, trading means you can raise revenue from people who might not have a direct interest in donating to your charity. It also means you can demonstrate to grant-giving bodies that you have an exit strategy and are self-sustaining. Charities who develop a trading income are often more sustainable long-term than those that don’t.
How we help with charity trading
We can help you start trading for the first time, or expand your charity trading operation to make it bigger and more successful. We can help you generate your first ideas, develop a strategy and make trading a bigger part of your charity, now and in the future.
Our trading experts have built up trading catalogues from scratch and successfully tweaked large charities’ catalogues to make them more appealing and better at revenue-generating. They’ve developed spin-offs and nurtured successful long-term links to corporates.
We’re particularly experienced in developing charity thrift shops. Our experts ran Oxfam’s central London group of shops for five years, seeing year on year increases in profits. They helped oversee the continuous acquisition and opening of new shops, including outfitting, stocking and staffing. We have also worked with Amnesty UK to help them set the future perspective and strategy for their bookshops.
It’s important to begin trading with care and a good understanding of the regulations around charity trading. Trading can have implications for your charity status and can mean you’ll be subject to corporation tax, so it’s vital you seek expert support before you start.
For many charities, setting up a trading subsidiary is the best option and can make the process less risky. For others, trading is part of their primary work and so setting up a subsidiary would be inappropriate. We can take you through the costs and benefits of various options and help you work out what is the best fit for you and your plans.