Fundraisers should use the introduction of the new 50 per cent tax band as an opportunity to recruit new major donors and ask their existing ones to give more, according to the Charities Aid Foundation.
When higher-rate taxpayers donate to charity, they can personally reclaim the difference between the 20 per cent basic tax rate and the 40 or 50 per cent rate that they pay, depending on how much they earn.
The new top rate applies to people earning more than £150,000 a year and came into force on 6 April. Figures from CAF show that a £100 donation from people in this new top band would be worth £176.28 after Gift Aid and tax had been reclaimed, if they chose to give all the reclaimed tax to charity.
Before the 50 per cent higher rate was introduced, the same donation would have been worth £160.25.
Panikos Efthimiou, training manager at the organisation, said there were more than 350,000 people in the top tax band and many of them were unaware that they could reclaim the money and either keep it or donate it.
"Fundraisers should be savvy and point this out," he said. "This is the right time for charities to be talking to their wealthier supporters.
"They could also use it as a way of getting new supporters on board. Some of them will keep the extra money and see it as an incentive to donate, but others will be happy to give it to the charity."
He urged charities to spell out the workings of Gift Aid in a simple way on their websites.
"The problem is, many higher-rate taxpayers don't think they have time to get to grips with Gift Aid," he said. "If charities kept the message simple, they could significantly increase the amount of money they raised from their major donors."
Efthimiou also said fundraisers should point out that donations from top earners who gave through payroll giving doubled in value because the money was donated before tax.
More Fundraising News at: thirdsector.co.uk/channels/fundraising
£176.28 - The potential value to a charity of a Gift-Aided £100 donation from a higher-rate taxpayer earning more than £150,000