A charity shop is an establishment which sells goods for the purpose of raising funds for charity. Some examples of organizations which use charity shops for fundraising include the Salvation Army, Oxfam, and Goodwill. Charity shops can work in several different ways, ranging from stores which sell entirely new goods to shops which sell goods donated by members of the public. Often, a charity shop is an excellent place to get a good deal while also benefiting a charitable cause.
The history of charity shops appears to date to wartime Britain, when several organizations started selling used goods to raise charitable funds. In a classic charity shop, members of the public donate things they no longer want, and the shop sells them. Because the goods are free, they can be sold at very low cost, appealing to members of the public and ensuring a rapid turnover. New goods may also be sold at a charity shop, or a mixture of old and new can be on display.
Although some members of the public view charity shops as an excellent place to jettison unwanted stuff, charity shops are actually very picky about what they will take. Donations are carefully sorted by people who are experienced in the charity shop market to determine what will sell and what will not. Unsaleable goods may be sold to rag companies, junk collectors, and other individuals, and objects with no value will be discarded in a landfill.
In some regions, a charity shop may specialize in high-end goods, such as designer fashion and high quality electronics. This type of charity shop typically has higher prices, and a very high standard for the goods it will accept. Other shops provide a range of goods at a variety of prices. Bargain-hunters often make a point of visiting charity shops on a regular basis to look for good deals, and charity shops are also sometimes frequented by people who intend to resell the goods at a profit, such as rare book specialists and clothes dealers.
In some regions, a donation to a charity shop is tax-deductible, with tax authorities accepting the value of the donated goods as a deduction. In order to receive a deduction, donors will have to select a shop run by a charity which is recognized by the government, and a receipt for the goods will also need to be obtained. Some shops skirt the law by providing people with blank receipts which they can fill out on their own, but consumers should be aware that unusually large donations may be scrutinized, so it is better to declare the actual market value of the donated goods, rather than inflate the size of the donation for tax purposes.