A how-to guide
Bonus, there's no need to hide the parcels – it's for charity!
The way we shop, like many things in our lives now, has had to adapt. Charity shopping is something that stirs an abundance of emotions; you get that 'guilt free' feeling while shopping, you are contributing to great causes – whilst also taking home things you love, and you get to experience the thrill of the hunt.

You know the one, when that singular 'perfect-for-you' item seems to call out from a darkened corner of the charity shop. Whenever you wear it afterward you have a feeling of pride. It also helps that an acquaintance once remarked, 'Wow, I love your top!' and you struggled to hide the fact you've been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to shout, 'Thanks. I got it from a charity shop!'. This is usually followed by them asking how you manage to find such great things in charity shops.

Well, we are going to show you that you can still have all of these moments but in a much more convenient, cosy and safe way. It is worth saying, we still need to support our high streets and physical charity shops as much as possible. But, it is comforting to have other options when this isn't always a possibility.

So, we recommend you settle in with a lovely warm beverage of your choice (or something cold with bubbles if you prefer, we don't judge), wrap up under your favoured blanket and let us show you a few ways you can still support charity shops from this rather comfortable, and smug, position. Snacks are also always advised.

Hopefully after this read, you'll be all ready to go on an online charity shop spree!
First up we have Oxfam and their online shop.

Here you will find things like: a whole category dedicated to vintage items, the odd designer name – think Burberry macs and Calvin Klein dresses, higher end high street items and Oxfam's ethically 'Sourced by Oxfam' range of new products.

Oxfam is a charity that fights injustice and poverty around the world. By shopping with them on their online shop, you are contributing to the fight against poverty.

Plus, they really do have some great pieces. The majority of their shops list items online that may be worth a little bit more than an item you'd find in a physical Oxfam shop. They also have online hubs too, dedicated purely to listing on the online shop, by both skilled staff and volunteers. Keep an eye out for promotions and sales, they tend to run these throughout the year to keep their inventory moving. Plus, you can expect the donated items listed on here to be of a higher condition than ones you may find in an Oxfam shop because items listed on here have to go through a long process of steaming, photographing, listing, packaging and dispatching. Hence the higher price points and careful curation.

The shopping process works similar to the physical shop one, in terms of returns, and you'll get notified every step of the way – right up until that item lands on your doorstep!
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British Heart Foundation
Next we have the British Heart Foundation's eBay shop.

Similar to Oxfam, at the British Heart Foundation you will find a varied range of items. The difference being, they also sell large furniture (this may require a collection in person) and homewares, as well as donated textiles. All available to be bid on for a limited time – double the shopping rush!

British Heart Foundation funds vital research relating to heart diseases and also helps to spread awareness, in turn saving countless lives. You can help them do this by simply shopping on eBay with them.

They have sold over 1million items on their eBay shop and continue to do so everyday. It certainly helps that there is such a wide range of items to choose from, with more being listed all the time.

British Heart Foundation have been listing online for quite some years now, so you can be assured they know which items people are searching for. We had a quick glance earlier and found a pair of Dior shoes, a Chanel bag, a vintage bookcase and a Burberry jacket. They do have lower priced items also, such as Marks and Spencer and New Look. They really do list everything and anything! If an item doesn't sell in one of their shops, or it may be of a higher value, then it'll be listed on eBay.

Just like the above, refunds are accepted and they aim to ship items within two days of payment being completed.
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Cancer Research
There's also Cancer Research's Depop shop.

If you are not familiar with using Depop, it's a secondhand selling site aimed at 'Gen Z' – 16-24 year olds. It gained popularity amongst young people with its Instagram-style layout and easy to use social-media-like features. People can message sellers/buyers, often to make 'offers' or negotiate bundles, free shipping etc.

Depop tends to be more trend based, seasonal items. For example 'Y2K' which is a term referring to the 2000 era trends – think low rise flared jeans, diamanté tracksuits, cami tops and mini dresses – is a big selling category on Depop.

Charity shops on the selling platform are using the expertise of young volunteers and staff to select stock that's attractive to Gen Z. So if you're after something on trend or seasonal – then Depop is your platform. There also seems to be a lot of sportswear and accessories on Depop from charities. Items that they can make a little more money from – the running theme. We love to see it, charities raising more money by utilising online platforms!
Cancer Research raises funds to be able to research cancer as much as possible, to understand the cause more and hopefully find a cure or at least prevention, earlier/better diagnosis and treatments.

Cancer Research is excelling in the Depop game. Now they know what customers are looking for, they'll be no stopping them in updating their inventory – with items that may be a little too niche for the shop floor. You can also expect some discounts around key sales periods. Depop encourages all sellers to take part in sales for promotion opportunities and so on.
British Red Cross
Finally to conclude the mix of charity shops online, we have the British Red Cross' ASOS Marketplace shop.

ASOS Marketplace is an online selling platform purely for vintage items. Think at least 20 years or older, roughly. So here you'll find the British Red Cross listing things like vintage blazers, dresses, coats and accessories. Again things that can raise more money being listed online than they may do in a shop. Unique pieces that really would make an outfit.

British Red Cross are a charity that raise money to be able to help people in crisis/dealing with an emergency, whether that's in the UK or overseas. So by simply buying one of their vintage coats, you can contribute to their cause (and create a fab outfit while doing so).

The items they make live are all uniquely styled, perfectly described and reasonably priced for what they are. It's a great way to charity shop because you know that every item you're looking at has been selected because it's a true vintage one-off item. Which gives an item even more reason to be shown off when worn.

There's usually 5 photos of each item and lots of product information so you can find out as much information as possible, while not having the item in front of you. Plus, returns are offered just as they would be in a standard shop. So there's nothing much you need to worry about – just who's going to be in to answer the door when it arrives!
Hopefully you have been provided with some simple yet informative online charity shopping suggestions and you're now ready to go and do some browsing! It is worth noting, that these are just a couple of examples and other charities may have their own website, be on eBay, ASOS Marketplace and Depop. It is always worth having a Google search if there's a particular charity you are keen to support/shop. Same thing applies if you're using eBay, Depop and so on. You can search for the charity's name in the search bar.

A lot of charities are now turning to e-commerce, they didn't have much of a choice, as they had to find a way to keep raising vital funds,when their brick and mortar shops were closed due to the pandemic. It's also how a lot of people choose to shop now, even pre-pandemic, with ever increasing busy lives it's more of a convenience to know you can take care of everything from your sofa. Once you start looking for charity shops online you will begin to notice them more and more. We think we will see a lot of them utilising their time and skills into the online side of things.

As much as we do love a browse around a charity shop, we are also all for the online charity shop hunt! We will leave you with this tip: buy your basics from their high street shops – plain tees, jumpers, shirts – and head online for your staples and items that complete an outfit – vintage coats, jeans, vintage dresses and retro patterned pieces!
Article by Megan Brown