Wait­rose com­mu­ni­ty mat­ters’ giv­ing initiative

Exhibited by
August 31, 2009
Medium of Communication
Face to face.
Target Audience
Individuals, single gift, corporations.
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
July, 2008.

SOFII’s view

We really like this. Not only is it generous, original and inventive, it also encourages local giving to lesser known causes. It involves a neat way of ensuring that the public are engaged in choosing where the money goes and, in so doing, Waitrose customers are obliged to find out a bit about each cause before they choose. Who says corporate donors are mean and self-centred?

Summary / objectives

Each month, Waitrose branches around the country will distribute £1,000 between three local project, through its ‘community matters’ giving initiative.

The initiative will deliver a total of £2.28m to local charities over the course of the year.


This is the first time Waitrose has embarked on such a campaign.

Staff and customers of Waitrose stores all around the country are encouraged to nominate and vote for three local organisations/projects, including welfare organisations, community groups, schools, or local divisions of national charities. Each store branch has a ‘community matters champion’ whose role is also to find out potential beneficiaries. The final decision on the three shortlisted organisations is made by PartnerVoice forums (Waitrose’s local democratic bodies).

Once the store has chosen its projects/organisations, customers at checkouts are given tokens to place in one of the three boxes allocated to the successful charities at the exit of the store. The money is then divided up among the charities according to the proportion of tokens they have in their respective boxes.

Special characteristics

This campaign gives local projects and organisations of all sizes the opportunity to compete to become one of the chosen beneficiary charities. For the smaller, less well known causes it also offers a great publicity boost.


This is a model that can be easily replicated by other companies who want to make a difference in the communities around them. Local projects and organisations could also lobby the companies in their locality and encourage them to adopt a similar scheme.

Other relevant information

Info from

John Lewis partnerships and here.

Good fundraising gets noticed. See also here and here.

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Waitrose customers makes their choice with their green tokens. The image above comes from the John Lewis press release
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The image above comes from Professional Fundraising (see links to both, under relevant information)
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Nice one, Waitrose! UK trade magazine Third Sector reports the supermarket chain’s generous initiative to suport local charities, leaving the final decision as to who gets what to its customers, so spreading the feelgood factor all round.
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The display stand that’s started to pop up in Watrose stores across the country. Customers are given a green token and three local charities to choose from. As they make their choice, they learn key facts about each worthy cause