Waitrose extends charity donation scheme for online shoppers

Waitrose is extending its green token charity scheme to online shoppers in a move that will see it donate £100,000 a year to good causes. As any regular customer at Waitrose knows, at the end of shopping trip, the shopper is given a small green token which they can put in a charity box at the exit of the store. The boxes are divided into three and are a visual way of shoppers showing which local charity they would like the supermarket to support.

Waitrose is now extending this scheme to its online customers too. 

The first three national charities to benefit from the online venture will be the British Heart Foundation, The Red Cross, and The Prince’s Trust, which will then change each quarter as three new national charities are selected to take part in the scheme.

British Red Cross Director of Fundraising, Mark Astarita says: ‘The British Red Cross is thrilled to be among the first charities to have been chosen to benefit from this new online initiative. The money raised by Waitrose customers will help us to do our lifesaving work in communities around the UK.’

Tina Varns, Waitrose Community Investment Manager says: ‘We are delighted to be launching the scheme online, giving all of our customers the opportunity to participate regardless of where or how they shop.  As a business, we have always been committed to giving back to the community and this extension of our scheme will allow us to support and tell our customers about the excellent work of twelve national charities every year.’

It sounds very beneficial and straight-forward, but how much do we actually know about the scheme?  And how does it actually operate in stores, on a local level? 

The scheme is known as ‘Community Matters’ and has been around since 2008.  Each store has £1000 a month to distribute amongst three local community projects and it is run in all 271 Waitrose branches.  Suzanne Cronin, Press Officer at Waitrose said, ‘Since the launch, Waitrose ‘Community Matters’ has donated over £8 million to almost 24,000 charities and community groups across the UK and Channel Islands.’

But where does the money for the charities come from?  Suzanne Cronin said, ‘It comes from the profits of our business – our core branches donate £1,000 a month and our 26 convenience branches donate £500 a month’.

How does Waitrose go about choosing the charities and local good causes? Suzanne Cronin said, ‘Customers are able to nominate charities and good causes that are close to their hearts, by filling in a Community Matters form in their local branch.  Each month, a group of Partners look at the nominations received and select three depending on a number of factors – including looking at how the donation will be spent and whether we have supported the cause previously as we want to make sure that as many causes as possible benefit from the scheme’. 

The new online initiative, which will operate on the same lines as the current charity donation process, should certainly see significantly more money donated to worthy charities each month. In a time of financial squeeze, this can be no bad thing.

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