Frequently asked questions

What is Charity Shop Exchange?

Charity Shop Exchange offers a subscription service of books & DVDs. People need new things to read and watch and our subscription service facilitates this in an economical way. Subscribers receive a selection of books and/or DVDs which have been handpicked from local charity shops.

Can I setup a subscription for my parents or grandparents?

Yes, you can do this by entering separate delivery and billing addresses. Just remember that if you're paying for the subscription then you are the account holder and responsible for making any changes to the account.

Is Charity Shop Exchange available in my region of the UK?

Yes, we deliver UK-wide. If your region isn’t listed on our homepage it's because we don’t yet have a charity who operates within your region. However don’t let that stop you, you can pick any listed charity, from any region, and they will deliver items to any UK address. Keep an eye on the website as new charities are joining all the time. Please encourage your favourite charity shops to join us too!

Is this a weekly subscription service?

Weekly, bi-weekly or monthly — it’s up to you! We think you can’t have too many books and movies in times like these. And if you do end up with more than you can manage, they can always be donated back to charity shops to continue the cycle!

What items should I expect to receive?

When subscribing you select from book and/or DVD genres, and with your preferences in mind we handpick items that we think you might enjoy. For example if you select ‘Adventure movie’ then we might send you Raiders of the Lost Ark. We don’t promise that every pick will be a perfect match but we’re sure we can delight you more often than not. And by delegating us responsibility to find you interesting and entertaining material you can sit back and enjoy the serendipity! If you’re unhappy with a selection we’ve made we’ll happily replace it but please consider gifting it to someone else who may appreciate it or donating it back to a charity shop.

You can start a subscription with just two items per delivery or choose to have as many as eight, and you can change anything about your subscription plan at any time.

How else can I help you understand my preferences?

As we enhance the website features, we'll introduce further ways for you to express your preferences and make more specific choices. We have lots of ideas about how we can make our subscription service work better for you but you might have even better ideas so we’d love to hear from you.

How do my items arrive?

The charity who fulfils your order is responsible for delivery. Whilst many will depend on Royal Mail, each charity is entitled to appoint any reputable parcel delivery service to fulfil their delivery duties. We’ll let you know if and when you should look out for a carrier which isn’t Royal Mail.

In the future it may become more efficient / profitable for charity shops to do their own local deliveries, if and when they have the capacity to do so; again we’ll tell you if this happens.

I’m a charity shop. What do you need from me?

You already have lots of books and DVDs so we just need you to fulfil the orders we get. We give you access to our orders and we pay you for the ones that you send out. As a subscription service this is reliable, repeatable business for you. We just ask you to sign our supplier agreement to get started.

What challenges do charity shops have right now?

Charity shops have a much tougher path back to normality than most other retail businesses. The heightened public health situation remains, and charity shops rely heavily upon volunteers, many who are in the shielding category themselves or may live with someone who is. Many charity shops are looking for fresh volunteers so if you think you can help please ask your local charity shops.

What is the purpose of the Charity Shop Exchange service?

Our purpose is two-fold. Having new things to read and watch can help alleviate the isolation that many people encounter right now. And by sourcing items from charity shops it helps to keep the charitable sector moving during these difficult times.

Why does this matter to charity shops?

Our subscription service helps charities stay close to their existing customers and also brings them a stream of entirely new customers. Hopefully this mitigates some of the impact that lockdowns, ongoing restrictions and social distancing has had, and will continue to have, on charities retail operation and their fundraising.

How can I contribute to this initiative?

We suggest three simple ways you can contribute:

  • You can share our profile and highlight the difference that books and DVDs make during isolation.
  • You can tell your local charity shop that you want to help them facilitate this service. For example you could fulfil their orders by packaging up books & DVDs and taking them to the Post Office for Royal Mail delivery. Alternatively you can combine this with other local doorstep delivery services.
  • You can buy our team a coffee here.

Who are you and why did you start this?

We are a new business that came together during the coronavirus lockdown to help the great British institution of charity shops steer their way through the pandemic by selling their books and DVDs. And in doing so we want to make a positive impact on society and the environment. We explain our beginnings here.

Where does my money go?

When you buy items on Charity Shop Exchange you pay a fee directly to us which is included in your subscription cost. The remaining balance goes directly to the charity your items come from.

For each order - be it a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly delivery - Charity Shop Exchange recieves between £1 and £1.40, plus 15% of the remaining order value.

Why do you ask for a favourite charity?

We ask our customers to pick a charity and in doing so they choose the charity shop they’d prefer to supply them with their order items.

We can’t promise that every single order will be packaged and shipped by the chosen charity because we’ll encounter times when supply doesn’t meet demand, in which case customers could receive their items from an alternative charity shop. However, please be assured that it will always be from a charity shop.

Our wish is for a resilient service that empowers local charity shops to supply local people, please be patient and understanding as we build this together.

Will this service continue post-coronavirus?

Absolutely! Equally there’s no problem if you just want to depend on it for the next few months. No commitments. It’s easy to cancel at anytime.

I love Charity Shop Exchange so much that I need to hear about more ways to support it!

Philanthropic funding could subsidise our operational costs and help the initiative to scale faster, which means we’ll be able to send more money to the charity shop sector. If you’d like to provide this kind of support please send us an email.

If you’re a charity shop please enquire here.
Do you still have questions?