Dialling up charity giving

At the time of writing the end of the tax year is a scant month away and the financial press is full of reminders to maximise ISA allowances or top up self invested personal pension (SIPP) investments before the available allowance is lost. Other tax efficient measures which are perhaps not as well-publicised but nevertheless appear regularly on the ‘use it or lose it’ lists include inheritance tax exempt gifts or gifts to charity.

Those making tax efficient donations to charitable organisations tend to do so via gift aid or payroll giving. But there are also other ways of donating to charity which may not necessarily be tax efficient for the donor but still benefit the charity. With the days lengthening it won’t be long before charities start to benefit from spring cleaning donations with clothes, books and other items flowing from homes to charity shops.

Many of these donations will be fairly unremarkable but two in particular have hit the headlines in recent days. First off came the charity shop in Taunton, Somerset, which became the recipient of a sock stuffed with £1000 in notes. Whilst the donation will make a measurable difference to the charity, it is first attempting to check via the local police force that the gift was intentional.

Then came the donation of a suitcase to a Welsh charity shop. Nothing remarkable in that, apart from the fact that hidden in the lining were plans showing the internal layout of HMS Trafalgar, a now-decommissioned nuclear submarine. The charity intends to auction these off to raise funds, having first checked that the plans were declassified when the submarine was decommissioned.

Even if you haven’t got something as exotic as nuclear submarine plans lying around, there are still plenty of ways businesses as well as individuals can help charities through donations of goods or time or through fundraising activities. For example, in recognition of the work which charities do to benefit society, Callagenix offers charities a discounted rate for telephony services. With a level of discount on regular service costs which would normally only be applicable to large corporates together with reduced call charges, Callagenix is helping charities to stay in touch with volunteers, donors and recipients.

In addition to discounted services, charities are also able to benefit from the increased visibility which comes through offering an 0300 charity telephone number. Reserved solely for charities and other non-profit making organisations, 0300 numbers are charged at a local rate and are therefore usually free within minutes packages on both landlines and mobiles. This not only encourages people to pick up the phone and volunteer, it also makes it easier for those who are in need to pick up the phone and ask for help.

And there’s a lot of help needed.  According to a report entitled Charity Today 2017 which was released in February, in England and Wales charities spend £136.4 million every day in carrying out their mission. Commenting on this John Grounds  of CharityComms said “Charities – both large and small – play a huge part in our national life, but one that’s often unnoticed or taken for granted.” Whether individuals and businesses make a tax efficient donation or help in other ways, every donation helps charities to carry out their ongoing work to make a difference in society.

Written by Alison