The government will launch a consultation on plans to make it easier to claim Gift Aid through digital giving channels, it was announced in today’s Budget.
The proposals will include options for allowing donors to complete a single Gift Aid declaration to cover their donations through a specific channel.
Under existing rules, donors must make a declaration each time they give online. The proposal would allow online giving platforms, such as JustGiving, to use a single declaration for all their future donations to any charity through that site.
Sector sources said the Treasury had told them the consultation was likely "some time in May". It is also believed that the consultation will include consideration of a universal Gift Aid database – this is a long-term solution to modernising Gift Aid, favoured by many in the sector.
Jane Tully, head of policy and public affairs at the Charity Finance Group, said the announcement was more positive and constructive than expected. "It says they are looking to make it easier for a ‘wide range’ of digital channels," she said. "That is really positive because it shows they are not focusing on a few niche areas.
"Including the option for donors to complete a single declaration to cover all their donations through a specific channel is what we asked for in our pre-Budget submission."
Tully said the Treasury had indicated that the consultation would look at the wording of the Gift Aid declaration, which was "long, wordy and cumbersome", and not easy for fundraisers to use.
Nick Aldridge, chief executive of the PayPal Giving Fund, said: "The new consultation is very welcome, but progress has been too slow. "Gift Aid remains clunky for donors and burdensome for giving platforms and charities. It’s high time we made it possible for platforms to collect a single declaration per donor. The government should now move quickly so that improvements to Gift Aid are no longer blocked by unnecessary regulations."
Rhodri Davies, head of policy and campaigns at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "It is good there is a consultation, but what is even better is the specific mention that they are going to be looking at a universal Gift Aid declaration. This could be really important in terms of increasing take-up of Gift Aid using different and new forms of giving."
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: "Gift Aid needs to keep pace with the changing ways people give, so we welcome this proposal as a solid first step. At a time when charities are struggling financially, anything that cuts down on red tape is good news for charities and the people who give to them."
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: "We’ve been working with the Treasury over the past few months and are glad that it is taking forward the views of our members on how Gift Aid can work better online and through text donations."