WA's leading charity store chains are becoming more vital to the causes they fund
WESTERN Australian not-for-profit organisations are focusing more on charity shops for revenue as securing government grants and fundraising revenue becomes increasingly difficult.
The St Vincent de Paul Society has continued to roll out charity shops across the state, with its Applecross store opening recently and Cannington due to open before the end of the year, which will take its total across the state to 45.
Income from the shops reached $8 million in the 2013-14 financial year, which was a 6 per cent increase on a year earlier and represented 45 per cent of the society’s total revenue for the year.
Chief executive Mark Fitzpatrick told Business News the group’s charity shop strategy was becoming more valuable as funding from both government and donors became harder to secure.
“The whole [not-for-profit] sector has been looking at ways that it can diversify its income away from government, particularly given the time now where they’re tightening their belts,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“For us, running what is a social enterprise for decades is a really important part of us being able to do more in the community.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said the society had created a unique business model around its shops by offering goods, which appealed to people around the location of the store.
For instance, its Claremont store stocks a different variety and mix of goods compared to its Midland store, which Mr Fitzpatrick said helped it engage with different communities.
Anglicare WA also relies on goods sold through charity shops, with $2.5 million of its $37.3m revenue for the 2013-14 year coming from the sale of goods through shops.
The organisation reviewed the business model around its shops in the 2012-13 financial year, which resulted in goods being collected and sorted in a new centralised warehouse in Welshpool – a year later the sale of goods had increased 13 per cent.
The RSPCA WA is reviewing the operation of its charity shops and began putting a refreshed strategy in place earlier this year.
Changes include improving store layout and customer service, which resulted in a 10 per cent increase in net profits after just a few months.
The organisation is also looking to launch a more upmarket version of its charity stores in an effort to generate stronger returns and it employed a retail manager in September.