Sector gets set for Xmas rush on beneficiary gifts

Charities are preparing for a surge in demand for beneficiary gifts in the run-up to Christmas.

ActionAid is to become the latest international development agency to enter the market - it is expected to launch its gifts range, Gifts in Action, in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Oxfam has increased its sales targets after research found scope for increased income from its Oxfam Unwrapped scheme. This year the charity will introduce sex-education packs, but it has opted to limit the availability of goats after selling 200,000 in less than three years.

"After the food crisis in east Africa, goats are still needed," said Katie Abbotts, a spokeswoman for Oxfam. "We can't anticipate how many we will be able to offer, but we guess that by the end of November we will review against need to keep the integrity of the catalogue."

Christian Aid is also improving transparency by separating its Present Aid gift range into six categories, to clarify where donors' funds will be spent if their chosen gift is not available.

"Last year, there was concern about whether your money would actually buy a goat, so this is our way of being upfront about the money going to specific programmes," said a spokeswoman for Christian Aid.

ALSO ...

Multi-charity gift website www.thoughtful.org has folded. The site was launched in the run-up to Christmas last year to raise funds for seven charities, including Marie Curie Cancer Care, Cats Protection, Farm Africa and Crisis. It sold a range of gifts that included a donation, such as the Crisis Christmas pudding.

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