Monday, 27 January 2014

Spotlight on.... Oxfam Charity shops

Spotlight on.... OXFAM Charity Shops

Q&A session to look at the role of the charity shop as a fundraiser in the public eye.
With Thanks to Kit, Greater Manchester area.

**the views contained within are those of the individual, and not representative of OXFAM themselves as a registered charity**

Oxfam International, is made up of 17 different organizations spread through out the world, and was founded in Oxford, England in 1942 with the goal of famine relief. It has grown since then to have operations in places such as the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, for example. One method of raising awareness for their goals and fundraising is through the use of charity shops. what made you want to work for them?

I started working there as a volunteer first as I love the music section and have a keen eye for rare records so wanted to help them make as much money as possible by researching and pricing records accordingly.

There are approximately 750 OXFAM shops in the UK, and it is apparently the largest retailer of 2nd hand books in the UK, which gives the charity chain a large high street presence. What does OXFAM do to help set itself apart from other Charity shops on the british high street?

Quality merchandise, only the best stock goes out in our shops and we try to keep the prices fair. We try to raise money for different projects regularly and we advertise to help different people in different parts of the world.

As OXFAM shops sell a mix of donated goods and fair trade items, can you talk us through the process of an item being donated to OXFAM to the end point where it is sold to a member of the public?

A customer will bring us the donation, we try to encourage them to sign up for gift aid if they haven't already. We then go through the donations and sort through what is good and we can sell and what is not. The products that we do not use get recycled where possible. The products we use get put on a hanger, steamed, priced and put out in the shop, as mentioned before we only use the best stock so anything that was old, worn, damaged or dirty do not get put out in the shop.

Have there been any high points or low points for you personally from working at an OXFAM charity shop? such as a dream - find being donated to the shop or something unexpected hiding within a donation bag?

The low points are when people donate items that are really not salable and they must know this but can't be bothered to go to the tip with it, e.g a used, dirty baking tray, cracked cups, china etc or really used, dirty clothes. People leaving products outside the shop in the rain is annoying as well as the products become unsaleable! High points are finding a great item in fantastic condition e.g designer gear unworn with original labels on sell really well and for a decent amount.

My personal favourite was finding David Bowie's album 'The man who sold the world' [in it's] original dress sleeve that was withdrawn, making it rare, we sold it online for a couple of hundred pounds. I get a real thrill when I find a rare record knowing we can make some decent money from it.

Is there anything that you would like to ask of the readers of project52 to do to help support OXFAM?

To help support oxfam please only donate stock that you would like to buy yourself to prevent waste, gift aid your donations if you are a tax payer and if you want to help and have the time please volunteer

Thank You Kit, on behalf of myself and the readers of 'Project52' for the work you do to support the goals of OXFAM UK

**the views contained within are those of the individual, and not representative of OXFAM themselves as a registered charity**

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