Charity Boxes

Always try to give what you can.

I went to visit John Lewis in East Croydon since a friend of mine pointed out that they have charity boxes. Eager to find out more about the charity system behind it I travelled there (on the 19.10.2012) for some primary research. Unfortunately for me, this particular day they had taken away the charity boxes to change the signs. All I could to was to talk to some employees and the head management office to find out more but I couldn’t actively participate in donating.

I found out that since 2005 John Lewis has a scheme called Community Matters, where they every store donates a percentage of profits made from product sales to fund charity projects. To be exact, every 3 months a total amount of 3’000£ are split between 3 charity organizations. Every customer of John Lewis receives a green token, chooses a box and therefore a charity he wishes to support. The money is then divided according to the amount of tokens each charity collected. The charities are nominated by customers and then chosen by a selected committee who makes sure there are no re-submissions of the same charity trust.

According to the John Lewis website cash contributions are exclusively for local charities around the area of the store.  They are particularly supportive of youth and children, care for the sick, care and housing for elderly, medical research and welfare and counseling services. They do not provide money for individuals, religious, ethical or political groups or third-party fundraising. (John Lewis, Homepage, available at:

According to an article written by Gemma Lacey, the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, John Lewis has several key community programs.  Apart from the Community Matters program, they provide community rooms within their shops for local causes such as promoting and supporting regional music talent. They also encourage their Partners to get involved in their community activities and to reinforce Partners to support their local communities. The John Lewis policy claims that even at times when charitable groups are struggling to raise funds, they will continue to give support to their local communities. (Lacey, Gemma, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Our charitable contributions, viewed on the 19.10.2012, available at

During my research in John Lewis I found out that Waitrose is in collaboration with John Louis and have an almost identical charity funding system. The only difference is, that they donate 1’000£ amongst 3 charities every month, therefore there is more rotation amongst charity organizations. One of the John Lewis employees pointed out a Waitrose in East Croydon that has the charity boxes so subsequently I travelled there. I had a chat with a very friendly and helpful employee called Jamie who provided me with a lot of insight. For example he explained to me that some people do pay a lot of attention to whom they donate their token to and others do not want a token because they do not believe in charity. It varies a lot from one individual to another how they make use of the charity boxes. Then again some just randomly put the token into one of the boxes, as long as they donated it counts, doesn’t it!? Jamie told me a couple of stories but just standing there for a while I managed to observe myself all three described behaviors of people. I did not approach anyone to ask questions since I was told I could intervene to much with their private views, however I was very happy I had the chance to gain such a solid insight.

Thank you Jamie for all your help!

Image 1: (Waitrose, East Croydon, taken by Anja Hess, 19.10.2012)
Image 2: (John Lewis, East Croydon, taken by Anja Hess, 19.10.2012)
Image 3: (Waitrose, East Croydon, taken by Anja Hess, 19.10.2012)