From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Target donates 3X more than Wal-Mart

December 13, 2004 7:51 AM

I went to the grocery store this weekend. Usually I go to Whole Foods, but ended up at Ralphs. The Salvation Army bell ringer was driving me nuts. I got in and out of the store as quickly as possible, and didn't get a pie like I had intended because it was right near the door where the bell was constantly ringing.

So my ears perked up this morning when I heard that Target is in a bit of a flap because they banned the godawful annoying bell ringers from their stores. By comparison, Wal-Mart allows them to ring the bell for 14 days. Target claims to give $2 million a week back to the community.

So how does the charitable giving of Wal-Mart and Target stack up?

Well, this weekend, I also happened to hear a Wal-Mart ad bragging about this. They claim to give $5/sec. Target's $2 million a week works out to $3.30/sec.

That works out to $104,000,000 donations for Target and $157,248,000 for Wal-Mart. Indexing it to total revenue, Target gives $1 for every $444 spent at its stores, while Wal-Mart gives $1 for every $1,425 spent. Target donates 3.2X more than Wal-Mart, who donates less than 1 tenth of 1 percent of its revenue.

I know where I'm shopping, and I suggest the National Clergy Council call off its Target boycott. That whole, forest for the trees thing.

More from the archive in Business, Wal-Mart.

Target donates 3X more than Wal-Mart (12.13.2004)

Next Entry: The Bushies "willfull negligence" (12.16.2004)
Previous Entry: "If Jesus were in Ibiza (12.10.2004)

Read the 20 comments.

Right Wing Robby:

Jim, its a charity. What the hell is wrong with you.

Mon Dec 13 2004 9:18 AM


Walmart makes a lot of claims. The money that Walmart claims it gives back to the community turns out to be sales tax. That's money that they technically never had.

Mon Dec 13 2004 9:22 AM

Jim Gilliam:

Seriously, Chris? Can you back that up? It seems like that number would be much higher if it included sales tax.

Mon Dec 13 2004 9:24 AM


So what's your issue? That Wal-Mart gives a smaller percentage (albeit a greater amount) to charity than Target?
Kind of nitpicking don't you think? Especially from supporter of JFKetchup, about whom the National Review stated:
"Kerry reported giving $43,735, or about 11 percent of his total income, to charity[for 2003]. That significant level of giving stands in contrast to his record in the 1990s, in which the issue of the senator's charitable contributions was a source of controversy. In 1995, Kerry reportedly had a taxable income of $126,179, and made charitable contributions of $0. In 1994, he gave $2,039 to charity. In 1993, the figure was $175. In 1992, it was $820, and in 1991, it was $0."
So WalMart's small-percentage-that-equals-big-bucks is something to sniff at...boycott material, by golly! Yet Kerry's years of giving NADA - no big deal, huh?

Mon Dec 13 2004 11:01 AM


I'm curious about the contribution vs sales tax thing too. It really doesn't compute because most sales tax rates are between 4% & 7%, the stated rate above comes out to .07%.

Other thing to consider, Target says it contributes enough to cover the bell ringer ban, so it's rate should be higher then Walmart who does allow solicitation on store property.

Mon Dec 13 2004 12:27 PM

Zack Scott:

"Yet Kerry's years of giving NADA - no big deal, huh?"

Tomaig, you seem to be accusing Jim of glossing over Kerry's lack of donations in the 1990s. I don't think Jim would have to point it out in his comparison of two retail chains. However, if you want to throw Kerry in the mix, then let's. Kerry didn't donate very much money about ten years ago, but the article is focused on today (as boycotts usually are).

So, recently Kerry donated 11% of his total income. That's sounds pretty good to me, especially since Wal-Mart donates 0.07% and Target donates 0.23%! So these days, Kerry donates 48X more than Target and 156X more than Wal-Mart!

So what's your issue? Kerry used to donate less than he could of? Kind of nitpicking don't you think?

Mon Dec 13 2004 4:50 PM


Whole Foods is a nice market. Sorry you had to go to Ralphs.

Funny enough, there is NO Wal-Mart in my city. I see ads for it all over TV, yet there isn't a single one within my city. There's a Target though, and they just recently remodeled. It's nice. So in my case, I don't even have the choice to go to Wal-Mart even if I wanted to go (but I don't and won't).

"So what's your issue? Kerry used to donate less than he could of? Kind of nitpicking don't you think?"

I concur. This post wasn't even about politics but corporations. Why is Kerry even being brought into this?

Mon Dec 13 2004 6:39 PM


It's not knit-picky at all. Someone sees a story on the news and becomes outraged. How could Target do this?! Let's boycott! Check the facts, people, before jumping on someone. The church seems to make too many assumptions instead of giving the benefit of the doubt. Seems to me that is what we are supposed to do, isn't it?

Tue Dec 14 2004 6:59 AM


Target gives $107 million per year.
Wal-Mart gives $157 million per year.

Only a spin-meister would turn what actually happens into something that doesn't.

I'll take the $157 million and Jim, you can have your 3x number.

Tue Dec 14 2004 12:29 PM

Zack Scott:

"Only a spin-meister would turn what actually happens into something that doesn't."

Well, here's exactly what Jim's article said:

"That works out to $104,000,000 donations for Target and $157,248,000 for Wal-Mart."

That happens, and it's close to exactly what you just said, so I guess this is the part that doesn't:

"Indexing it to total revenue, Target gives $1 for every $444 spent at its stores, while Wal-Mart gives $1 for every $1,425 spent."

Oh wait, that's true too. So what are you saying doesn't happen? I'm confused. Now, maybe you're talking about this:

"Target donates 3.2X more than Wal-Mart, who donates less than 1 tenth of 1 percent of its revenue."

Sure, it's a little confusing if only the first half of the sentence is read, but if you read the entire sentence (as well as the supporting paragraph), it is obvious that the article is about Target donating 3X more of it's revenue than Wal-Mart does. So should Jim change the title of the article to "Target donates 3X more of its revenue than Wal-Mart does of its revenue" or something? Probably not, because the word "more" in no way tells people what it is that Target donates 3X more of until they read the article.

Tue Dec 14 2004 1:26 PM

Chris Nolff:

I know people that work at wal-mart. They treat them like slaves from what I hear. Why do they have the old dudes for security guards? Maybe they should hire more intimidating security. Anybody can run away from an old lady.

I dig your website.

Tue Dec 14 2004 1:46 PM


Jim I think people disagree with you just because they don't like you. You could speak the god's truth and these people would deny it as heresy.

Boycott Walmart, indeed. Wal-marts so anti-american citizen that it makes my heart bleed. :-)

Tue Dec 14 2004 3:37 PM


Jim, what's up? I love coming to you blog and laughing at your opinions (in political jest only).

Why such light posting lately?

I don't say this often to a liberal, but I miss you!


Wed Dec 15 2004 7:40 PM


"and didn't get a pie like I had intended because it was right near the door where the bell was constantly ringing."

Good grief, Charlie Brown! I know liberals are thin-skinned, but this takes the cake! ( er, I mean "pie" )

Thu Dec 16 2004 9:13 AM


Oh, so it's not okay to grumble lightheartedly about the annoying bell-ringing of charity collectors, but it IS okay to cut any and all funding to officialy help those in need. I know conservatives have a hard time with irony, but this takes the cake!

Mon Dec 20 2004 10:48 PM



Just now saw your reply. My source is from an article by Neal Peirce at

I swear there is a jim Hightower article along the same vein but I can't find it.

Thu Feb 24 2005 3:14 PM


Woooo! go target! Target rocks! boooo walmart! you suck!

Mon Aug 29 2005 1:27 AM


'Yeah walmart sucks. oh wait I need to pick up a few things after work. Ill go to walmart because they have what I want for less then target'. The old people are not security guards they are greeters. The security guards are young men in there 20's and you will not notice them because they are in plain clothes. Walmart employees are paid just as well and in many cases better then there competitors and are treated just as well, are better trained, and much more freindly.
Walmart donates far more money each year to various charaties and causes then what is listed here. Think about the $15 million donated to the disaster relief after hurrican katrina, plus the millions donated by walmart employee's and customers.
We had no bottled water in my area for weeks because walmart diverted it all to give to the people who were affected by the hurrican. And what was the local responce? Same as you people, complaints, complaints, complaints. Not happy unless there is something to complain about.
And then the $8.5 million donated to police fire and rescue, the $6 million donated to build the WWII monument in D.C., $35 million for conservation, and the countless millions it donates to communities on a regular bases, The scholorships each stores offers to both employees and people in the community. And you think that Target is even in the same league as far as donations are conserned? Who cares if Target donates more of their total revenue in one single case? Look up walmart donates on google and you find millions here and millions there. Look up Target donates and you will find this thread, a 15 million dollar donation to help schools, and then thousands here and thousands there mostly in education(and ther is nothing wrong with that). Not much of a comparison. Your attempt to make walmart look stingy dose not work this time.
No I am not a walmart store owner, manager, or work in the corporate structure. Yes I am a Walmart store employee and a college business major who knows that there are far worse places to work then walmart one of wich is Target.

Fri Jan 6 2006 8:29 PM


Are you a grinch, or something of that sort? A Salvation Army Bell Ringer couldn't drive a normal person crazy.

Tue Mar 14 2006 5:28 PM


This is such an old blog i hope anyone especially Jim sees it. I read your blog from time to time from a distance, but this time had to succumb to adding a comment. I find it funny that those who voices are loud are not always complete with facts (correct ones). Even though, you are at times are right on the mark, I can always count on you being loud. I today also find it strange and sad (as in the past I have been impressed and entertained by your use of the English language) that your use of a single word has shown your ignorance (in the dictionary sense, not at all a personal strike) of your use of the word "god-awful" in connection to The Salvation Army. I will save you the time of attempting to explain what The Salvation Army stands and works for and challenge you to research it or remind yourself of it. I am sure your use of the word was a trite clichĂŠ and not meant to label. In fact I completely understand it was meant to describe the sound from the bell and not the intent or character of The Salvation Army. The sad part is many who read the rapid belch of a statement such as yours may not understand and from then on be tainted consciously or subconsciously. Good stuff though, don't always agree but good stuff. Mahalo

Tue Jan 9 2007 8:37 PM

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