With the Give It Back, George campaign a united sector successfully persuaded the government to drop its plans to limit tax relief on charitable donations. What other issues should we now be galvanising support for?
Mike Wade, director of fundraising and communications, The National Deaf Children's Society
Firstly, the Give It Back, George campaign revealed a shocking lack of evidence to support any position on Gift Aid. Between now and the next election we need to develop a rock-solid, evidence-based position on whether the charity or the donor should reclaim higher rate tax. If it’s the charity, how can we make it work? What about corporate Gift Aid? And how can we make the small donations exemption scheme work for smaller charities, without excluding those not already using Gift Aid?
Secondly, with the Hodgson review still to report, charities need to demonstrate they can make self regulation work without further restrictions on face-to-face etc. The fundraising challenge is tougher than ever – let’s not tie our hands any more than necessary.
Finally, Payroll Giving is long overdue for radical reform. The Institute of Fundraising has led the way with its three principles of universality, connectivity and portability. Let’s make them work!
Catherine Miles, fundraising director, Anthony Nolan
The fundraising sector can have a powerful voice when we join together. I would like to see the same type of united front behind Joe Saxton and the Institute of Fundraising’s efforts to simplify the regulations governing raffles and lotteries. These remain a very popular way for people to support charities, and are an important source of income for both large and small organisations. To have regulations that actually limit the amount a charity can raise from a fundraising activity seems counter-intuitive.
It is also troubling that charity lotteries are currently treated in the same way as commercial gambling activities. The significant level of administration needed to operate raffles and lotteries takes up valuable staff time which could be spent on other activities, and acts as a disincentive to small charities considering running a raffle which could be a great source of income.
Simplifying the regulations would bring real benefits to the sector.
The strength of support for the Give It Back, George campaign illustrates the importance of donations made under Gift Aid to the sector. It also reveals a number of other issues, including a lack of data and research about the impact of Gift Aid and reliefs on giving.
We need to provide much more evidence to support campaigns and as a result we are investing in developing our research function to achieve this.
There are also wider elements of tax-effective giving that can be improved and the institute is exploring potential options on these – including simplification of Gift Aid, higher rate relief donation options, corporate Gift Aid and payroll giving.
Gift Aid touches so many forms of giving that it is vital to make sure it works for donors and charities to maximise income to the sector.
Liz Tait, director of fundraising, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
One of the best things about the wonderful sector in which we work is that we can collaborate and work together to be a force for good. At this year’s National Convention it was refreshing to hear Joe Saxton’s rallying cry for us all to campaign for much-needed change to Gift Aid and lottery regulation. Please could we add fairer and consistent access to licenses for street fundraising, door-to-door fundraising and house-to-house collections to our agenda?
The current National Exemption Order system gives competitive advantage to those lucky or established enough to have secured their golden ticket, so galvanising support for change in this area would enable more good causes (and dare I say not just the big boys), to fundraise nationally on a level playing field using these highly effective and proven techniques.
By the time you read this the Charities Act Review may have addressed this issue, but if not, let's be ready to join forces to create a change for the benefit of all, just as we did so beautifully with the Give It Back, George campaign.
This article first appeared in The Fundraiser magazine, Issue 19, July 2012