Astarita withdrawn as speaker at IoF event after comments on payroll giving

Institute of Fundraising's chair-elect will not be a keynote speaker at its Payroll Giving Conference today after telling Third Sector 'payroll giving hasn't worked'

Mark Astarita
Mark Astarita

The Institute of Fundraising has withdrawn its chair-elect Mark Astarita as its keynote speaker at today's Payroll Giving Conference, after he made negative comments to Third Sector about payroll giving.

Astarita, who is director of fundraising at the British Red Cross, said: "If government or others bleat on about payroll giving over the next few weeks I shall scream.

"Payroll giving hasn't worked. Charities large and small wonder if it ever will, and the only people who really love it are those that make loads of money from managing the transactions.

"It has been talked about, incentivised with top-ups and still it has not worked – get over it and move on. Let's hope vested interests are not the only ones heard in the forthcoming giving debate."

A statement from the Institute of Fundraising said: "Given Mark Astarita's recently publicised views on payroll giving, the institute felt that it would be more conducive to the conference's success if someone who has not been associated with such strong positions were to speak."

Tanya Steele, a trustee of the IoF and director of fundraising at Save the Children, will now be giving the keynote speech at the conference, which is being held at the Home Office.

After being removed from the conference programme, Astarita told Third Sector that he stood by his remarks.

"I stand by what was said – there are fundamental problems with payroll giving," he said. "A number of issues need to be addressed for it to reach its full potential."

He said the Red Cross had been using payroll giving for 25 years, but had only 5,000 donors using the method.

"They are lovely donors, but the systems to get there are very long – it's administratively difficult," he said.

"The reason I'm not going to speak at the conference is to calm things down," he added. "Tanya will say all the things I was going to say."

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