Record year for fundraising on eBay as online charity shops defy retail downturn

£6.25m comes from charity retailers on eBay: 56% up on 2010 UK charities raised £10.1m on in 2011: 34% growth on 2010

Despite challenging economic times, the value of retail sales from’s charity shops grew by 56% year on year in 2011, rising to over £6 million last year (£6.25m), with almost 800 registered UK charities selling items in the busiest months.

Figures from the Charity Retail Association show that nine out of ten charities that sell online use eBay, and earn several times more from sales on eBay than they do from their own online sales (76% from eBay compared to 17% from their own websites)[1]. In 2011, leading charities such as BBC Children in Need and the Royal British Legion brought their shops onto for the first time.

Spending among eBay UK’s charity givers has shown resilience as wider economic pressures have increased. In 2011 the eBay UK community raised £10.1 million for charity, a 34% increase on the total raised in 2010 (£7.5 million), and four times the amount raised in 2007 before the recession hit. The strong growth of online giving contrasts with overall donation figures for the UK charity sector, which remained flat at £11bn, and are down in real terms since 2007/8[2].

Internal research by eBay shows that buyers and sellers who support charity through become more loyal and active customers over time. Buyers who donate increase their spending over the following 12 months by at least 15%, compared to similar buyers who don’t donate. Sellers who donate increase their sales by at least 13%, compared to similar sellers who don’t donate[3].

Lorin May, Head of EU Charity and Sustainability at eBay said:
“Even when budgets are squeezed, people are still willing to spend money on the things that matter to them. Donating to charity or buying a unique item or experience in a charity auction is the type of spending that gives excellent value and return to people, in more ways than one.”
“Charities are becoming more and more entrepreneurial and we help charities try out e-commerce and start selling online in an easy and inexpensive way. Donating to charity on eBay is a simple ‘one-click’ way for people to support their charities, and our research shows this keeps customers coming back, both to the charities involved and to shopping on eBay.”

Anne Pleasant, CEO of InterAct, one of the top charity sellers on eBay, said:
“In the current climate, InterAct`s services are more in demand and funding is tight. We have to look at alternative ways of securing finance, not relying solely on grants and donations. InterAct is benefiting from the development of activities provided by its award-winning IT recycling social enterprise MillRace IT to deliver increased local community services that create lasting improvements. Trading on eBay for Charity has been a really positive step during the last 18 months and we recommend it for other charities.”

eBay for Charity UK fast facts:

  • Over £6.2 million was raised by UK charity shops and fundraising auctions on eBay,
  • The most successful charity seller - MillRace IT (owned by InterAct charity) - hit £580,000 in sales,
  • More than £1.77m was donated by eBay users through donations at checkout, with 130,000 buyers donating in November alone,
  • 2,600 eBay users donated more than £100 to their favourite charities through eBay, with the most generous donor giving over £25,000,
  • now has more than 6,000 charities selling on its site.
  • Since 2005, buyers and sellers on eBay, the UK’s largest online marketplace, have raised £31 million for good causes,
  • Globally, the eBay community raised £39 million (US $63 million) for U.S. not-for-profit organisations and UK charities in 2011.


For further information please contact Clare Moore-Bridger, eBay Corporate Communications on +44 7769 144 710

  1. The Selling Online survey 2011 was conducted by the Charity Retail Association with a sample of 75 charities representing 4,105 shops. A spread of large (100 shops+), medium (21-100 shops) and small (1-10 shops) organisations were surveyed. Respondents identified the following barriers to success in trading online.
  2. The CAF/NCVO report UK GIVing 2011 estimates record £11bn in donations in 2010/11, which (when adjusted for inflation) is the same as in 2009/10 and down on £11.9bn in 2007/8.

  3. To estimate the impact of eBay for Charity on customer loyalty and engagement, eBay measured the growth in activity before and after each of 4,751 users made a donation through eBay for Charity. This growth was then adjusted downwards by the levels of organic growth in activity among a large similar control group who did not make a donation.

Notes to Editors

About eBay for Charity
eBay for Charity helps charities of all sizes to raise funds by trading on the eBay marketplace. It also gives over’s 17 million unique visitors per month a secure and efficient way of donating to a charity of their choice when they buy or sell on the site. Donations from eBay users are collected and regranted by MissionFish, a registered charity No. 1110538).

About eBay Inc.
Founded in 1995 in San Jose, Calif., eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) is a global commerce platform and payments leader connecting millions of buyers and sellers. We do so through eBay, the world's largest online marketplace, which allows users to buy and sell in nearly every country on earth; through PayPal, which enables individuals and businesses to securely, easily and quickly send and receive digital payments; and through GSI, which facilitates ecommerce, multichannel retailing and digital marketing for global enterprises. X.commerce brings together the technology assets and developer communities of eBay, PayPal and Magento, an ecommerce platform, to support eBay Inc.'s mission of enabling commerce. We also reach millions through specialized marketplaces such as StubHub, the world's largest ticket marketplace, and eBay classifieds sites, which together have a presence in more than 1,000 cities around the world. For more information about the company and its global portfolio of online brands, visit