How to raise £1bn extra for charity

Regular, tax-efficient donations have more impact than festive gifts, finds Sam Dunn

There's an adage that's swiftly and expertly learned by the children of straight-talking parents: "You don't ask, you don't get."

There's an adage that's swiftly and expertly learned by the children of straight-talking parents: "You don't ask, you don't get."

And during the festive season, charities also apply this saying to maximum effect.

"People generally give when they are asked and, quite simply, they are asked more at Christmas," says Amy Mac-Laren of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), whose research reveals that every month, two-thirds of British adults give to charity. In 2003, the average was £12.32, although barely one in 20 of us gave more than £50 to charity each month.

As individuals, we handed over £7.1bn last year - down from £7.3bn in 2002, in part because of falling markets and a dip in economic confidence, says the NCVO - but this year donations are expected to be buoyant.

Like any other demand on our money today, charity choice is overwhelming.

Whether it's Shelter, Children in Need, Christmas cards, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Sport Relief, the new Band Aid single, last week's World Aids Day or even the newly formed "Book Aid", enlisting literary giants such as Salman Rushdie to write short stories to help fund the fight against Aids, there are plenty of appeals for our money and plenty of people responding.

Nearly a quarter of all our donations go to medical research, says the NCVO, while the next popular causes are children or young people (21.6 per cent), animals, religious organisations and overseas relief work.

More people are donating by monthly direct debit and standing orders, too - up from 15.3 per cent to 16.8 per cent of all charitable giving - and these regular donations can make a bigger difference than seasonal gifts.

If we always handed over money in the most tax-efficient way, our chosen charities would benefit by nearly £1bn extra each year, says Cathy Pharaoh of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

Foremost is Gift Aid, a scheme where every £1 you donate to charity secures another 28p from the Inland Revenue.

Ask your preferred charity for a form, says Ms Pharaoh. Alternatively, if the recipient of your cash doesn't have the document - this may be the case with small bodies such as your child's school, for example - simply print off a template from the Inland Revenue website (see the address at the end of this article) to hand over with your donation. To participate, you must be a taxpayer.

If you ask your employer to make payments to a charity of your choice direct from your monthly wages, you'll get immediate tax relief. A £100 donation to charity will cost £78 if you are a basic-rate taxpayer - £60 for higher earners.

More than 9,000 businesses offer such "payroll giving" to five million employees and these figures should rise as a new government grant will make it easier for smaller companies to offer the scheme to their staff.

In the 2002-03 tax year, more than £86m was raised in the UK through payroll giving. It's also worth asking your company if it will match your donations; many have such policies.

If you're a regular shopper, you could also use a charity credit card. A tie-up between lenders and good causes, these donate a one-off payment when you first take one out - usually £10 (English Heritage) but as high as £20 (Cancer Research).

Each time you then use your card, a fraction of the transaction value is passed to your charity. A £100 spend will typically produce a 25p donation.

But always check the annual percentage rate (APR). Although many charity cards have become more competitive and include 0 per cent introductory offers, a number - the RSPB and Comic Relief, among them - have an APR as high as 17.9.

Don't forget to drop unwanted items off at your local charity store: Oxfam has some 750 shops across the UK that raised £16.9m last year. Mobile phones are expected to be among the most popular gifts this year and, rather than send your old handset back to the company, donate it - and the charger - to your charity shop.

If you're having an end-of-year financial clearout, give any small, unloved shareholdings to charity. You won't have to pay any capital gains tax and can claim income tax relief.

Small charities that can't pick up the cost of selling the stock can use ShareGift, a free service for donors that re-registers your shares and holds them (in the charity's name) until it has enough for a bulk sale.

Giving to charity is easily done in your will. Any bequest will reduce your inheritance tax estate, where tax is payable at 40 per cent on any amount over £263,000. While many people leave a direct legacy, an alternative is to leave the "residue", what's left after all else is settled.

www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/charities; www.payrollgiving.co.uk; www.sharegift.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
news Sprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who lived into adulthood, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre.
arts + ents "Reader, they doodled her".

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
News
The troubled star is set to give fans the biggest insight into her life away from the headlines
peopleThe Mean Girls star’s life takes another sad turn
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Computer Science)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Compute...

    C#.NET Delphi SQL Developer (C#,DELPHI,SQL)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET D...

    VB.NET SQL Junior-Mid Level Developer (VB.NET,SQL,Excellent com

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET S...

    Trade Support, Application Support, Operations Analyst, CRM MS

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: Trade Suppor...

    Day In a Page

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

    The man who could have been champion of the world

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
    Didn’t she do well?

    Didn’t she do well?

    Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
    Before they were famous

    Before they were famous

    Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

    Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players