As an important part of the Charity Retail Ireland Strategy, we developed the Code of Charity Retailing in 2011. The Code of Charity Retailing is an assurance to our customers and donors that all Charity Retail Ireland members are operating to the standards set out in the Code. The Code of Charity Retailing was signed up to by all our member charities as of January 2011 and is a condition of joining Charity Retail Ireland for all new member charities.

This Code sets out the good practice which members of the Association are required to observe (must) as well as outlining additional good practice that is advised, but optional (should). This Code may be amended from time to time to take account of, for example, legislative changes.

It has been revised on 1st January 2020 to take account of the establishment of the Charities Regulator, new guidelines and recent legislation.

The Aims of the Code are:

  • To promote good practice and high standards in charity retailing
  • To advocate compliance with legal requirements
  • To promote public confidence in, and support for charity shops
  • To increase donations to charity shops both directly into shops and through house-to-house collections.
  • To get positive publicity for charity shops
  • To promote awareness of legitimate charity shops and to help stamp out dishonest and bogus activities
  • To support the work of the Charities Regulator in identifying and addressing issues concerning ‘Bogus Collectors’ and ‘Bogus Charity Shops’ via the Association’s reporting mechanisms

Download the Code of Charity Retailing


Why was the Code of Charity Retailing developed?

Self-regulation for fundraising was one of the areas covered in the Charities Act 2009 which commenced in 2014. A Code of Practice was developed by the Irish Charities Tax Reform Group but did not specify fundraising through shops. (This has been superseded by the Guidelines for Charitable Organisations on Fundraising from the Public, developed by the Charities Regulator.) See more here

After consultation with our members, it was agreed that the Association should develop this code for regulation of the charity retail sector in parallel with other self-regulatory initiatives for charity fundraising.

When was it introduced?

It was proposed on June 10th 2010 at the Talking Shop Member’s meeting and approved by Charity Retail Ireland members to be effective from 1st January 2011. All existing members signed up to the code by May 2011.

What do Charity Retail Ireland  members have to do to comply with it?

The Code sets out good practice that members of the Association are required to observe (must do) as well as outlining additional good practice that is advised but optional (should do).

What does signing up to the Code of Charity Retailing mean?

Signing up to the Code of Charity Retailing means that:

  • Your charity undertakes to abide by the mandatory regulations of the Code and to operate under its good practice guidance covering all aspects of charity retailing.
  • You are a registered charity or a trading subsidiary running charity shops.
  • You are a member of Charity Retail Ireland
  • You meet your statutory obligations and do not bring the sector into disrepute by any inappropriate or illegal activity.
  • Your donations are sold through your shops to raise as much as possible for your charity.
  • You treat the public with care and consideration.

What’s in it for charity members of the Charity Retail Ireland?

The Code of Charity Retailing will:

  • Highlight the best practice and high standards maintained by your charity shops
  • Increase public confidence in and support for your charity shops
  • Help the public to identify your charity shop as legitimate, thereby helping to eliminate bogus activities.
  • Provide the opportunity for additional marketing of your charity shops in the future

Do all charity shops have to comply with the Code of Charity Retailing?

The Code is a condition of membership of the Association.

How will the public know that the most is being made of their donations?

Members signing up to the Code undertake to abide by all their statutory obligations and the Code’s further good practice standards covering all aspects of charity retailing. They sell as much of the public donations of clothing and other goods as is possible through their shops.

As much as possible of the remainder is sold for further reuse and recycling, wasting nothing and thus raising the most money possible for their charity.