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Vinnies, Salvos seeing drop in donations because of popular online marketplace

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Digital challenge: Charities such as Vinnies and Salvos have found themselves in competition with classifieds apps and websites.

LEADING charities have seen a drop in donations because of the rise of online sites where consumers are buying, selling and swapping household goods.

Charities including Vinnies and the Salvos find themselves in competition with apps, and selling websites have made it easy to earn fast cash.

People now have the option to upload an item online and potentially have it gone within hours.

The chief executive of Salvation Army stores Matt Davis recently told the decline in donated goods such as second-hand furniture was “shameful”.

“Over the past eighteen months we’ve really begun noticing a drop in donations,” Mr Davies, who oversees 220 of the Salvation Army’s more than 300 stores nationwide, said.

“We think the timing of Facebook Marketplace, Buy and Sell pages on the social media platform and sites like Gumtree have contributed to the drop.”

He believes there’s been about a 15 per cent drop in donations, which equates to more than $1 million in revenue lost each year.

Vinnies Queensland reports “a reduction” in donations, but not enough to significantly affect operations.

“We still have hundreds of thousands of quality items donated to us to give away to people in need via our conferences, or to sell in our one-hundred-and-forty-six shops across the state,” Western Brisbane Diocesan Central Council executive officer Roberta Jays said.

She said Vinnies Queensland relied on financial donations from supporters and corporate partners.

“For example, we recently received a donation of one-hundred-and-seven quality mattresses from a Brisbane college to give to people in need and sell in our shops for a profit,” Ms Jays said.

“These profits then go back into the local community through our many programs and services including housing and homelessness support, mental health and youth programs, disaster relief and much more.”

Vinnies Queensland said the majority of the people they assisted were grateful for the material goods they were able to provide via conferences, whether it be beds for children, clothes for the family or a dining table to eat at.

Ms Jays said Vinnies Queensland would invite all Queenslanders, including The Catholic Leader readers, to think of Vinnies when they considered what to do with their quality used items.

“We can do a lot of good with what they no longer need,” she said.  

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