Charities in Cornwall have embraced digital preparation as part of the post-Covid world. Last week we put the call out to ask our membership to find out which of our organisations have charity shops. Our interest is also in voluntary sector digital preparation. We heard how you continued working throughout the pandemic. We wanted to know the impact of the surge in gifting locally. Anecdotally, we know that some charity shops have requested no more books be donated. This is because they are struggling to cope with space to store them, or are understaffed to cope with them. We wanted to understand the picture locally.

Charity shops and digital preparation

A 2020 survey suggested that half of charities had developed online shopping platforms. From our membership, we spoke with two organisations with online platforms. These were Marie Curie and St Petroc’s. We also spoke with Pants Cancer.

These digital charity shops offer a massive opportunity for charities to expand their reach. The lack of bricks and mortar means they are rent free too. In a Charity Retail Association report from 2020, 81% said it helped them expand their reach. 88% say moving online has increased revenue on specialist items. This emphasises the importance of digital preparation.

For many charities, the lockdown has meant a difficult time with no revenue. Both Marie Curie and Pants Cancer charity shops welcome as many donations as possible and are not restricting items. At present, both said they had adequate staff, including volunteers. They are always seeking more.

Other digital preparations

We have seen some charities increase their digital offer in other ways. St Petroc’s recently launched an app to offer remote support to service users. They also have an online wishlist, for donations. This alternative ensures they prevent contact and can quarantine donations for Covid safety.

Online offers are attracting younger generations. A survey from Enthuse suggests Gen Z are donating more. 84% of those in this demographic Gen Z donated during the pandemic and half of them say they will continue to give.

What is your organisation doing to embrace digital? We would love to tell your story and inspire other charities.