This year's charity Christmas card Scrooge named

Charity Christmas cards are popular, but many shops actually give very little of the proceeds to the good causes they purport to support.

Asda has been named and shamed as winner of this year's 'Scrooge Award' by the Charities Advisory Trust. It only donates a measly 6.6% of card sales to charity. And it also has one of the most expensive cards on sale, costing 60p each.
In second place is last year's Scrooge Award winner, Debenhams. This year, its NSPCC cards are only donating 8.3%.

And the likes of John Lewis, Cards Galore, Boots and Ryman all sell cards which only pay their charities 10%.

However, some retailers do sell different cards for different charities which donate different amounts. For example, Debenhams also sells cards for BBC Children in Need where the charity receives 20% of the price of the card.

WHSmith was given the Curate's Egg Award this year for a retailer that is 'good in parts'. In other words, some cards donate a big amount, and others less so. Its Children in Need cards hand over 70% to the charity, but it's also selling two cards which only hand over 8.3%.

The 12 saves of Christmas

Fewer cards to choose from
There is a smaller selection of charity Christmas cards on sale this year, meaning less choice for shoppers and less money for charity. Of the shops that do sell charity cards over 90% have reduced the size of their charity range. And the number of cards on the shelves is down by an average of 40%.

John Lewis, for example, has reduced the number of cards on offer by 36%, with 171 designs this year. At Cards Galore there was a drop of 74% to 28, while at Selfridges the fall was 55% to 46 designs.

The only shop to increase the number of charity cards on sale is WHSmith, which has extended its relatively small range to 18 from six last year.

How much do the charities really get?
As we've already seen, how much charities actually receive from the sale of cards varies. Tesco, for example, doesn't even list an individual price per card, but instead donates £275,000 to Diabetes UK.

As there is no minimum standard for marketing items claiming to be for charity, shops have the freedom to pay whatever they want to the charity.

Therefore the only real way to find out how much you're giving to a charity is to check the small print on the back of the card.

Alternative ways to give money to charity
Buying Christmas cards directly from your chosen charity, either through an online or high street shop, is the best way to make sure it gets all of your money. Production costs will obviously be accounted for, but this is a fail safe way to make sure part of your money isn't going into the tills of another shop.

The Charities Advisory Trust's own network, Card Aid, gives between 40% and 60% of the card price to the named good cause. It lets you either design your own card linked to a specific charity or pick from existing pre-made versions.

You could also skip giving cards altogether, and give a donation via the normal route or donate money to your charity and send out a Christmas e-card.

How to earn your own Christmas bonus

Budget Christmas presents for family and friends
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This year's charity Christmas card Scrooge named
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