The Institute of Fundraising has called on the next government to improve the way that Gift Aid works and help to make legacy gifts to charities a social norm.
The IoF’s election manifesto, called If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get, was unveiled by chief executive Peter Lewis at the umbrella body’s national convention in London today.
The manifesto urges political parties to remove the requirement for charities to be registered for Gift Aid in order to make claims under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which the IoF believes would allow smaller charities to benefit from the tax incentive.
The GASDS, which was introduced last year, provides a Gift Aid-like relief on up to £5,000 of small cash donations each year, without the need for individual paperwork.
The IoF manifesto says that the amount charities can reclaim by means of a top-up payment under the GASDS should be doubled from £1,250 to at least £2,500 and should include non-cash donations.
Other suggestions for improving the effectiveness of Gift Aid include shortening the Gift Aid declaration, extending the carry-back rules – where people can choose to carry back Gift Aid relief – from a year to four years, and ensuring Gift Aid can be easily claimed on digital and micro-donations.
The manifesto also calls on the next government to work with solicitors and will writers to make it more common for people to leave charitable legacies in their wills.
The manifesto comes after a study last year conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team, the so-called nudge unit, found that three times as many people in the UK would leave charitable gifts if their solicitors were to remind them to consider the option.
The IoF’s last manifesto, launched in 2010, also urged politicians to take action on charitable legacies and increase the proportion of people leaving them from 7 per cent to 11 per cent.
In its latest manifesto, the IoF is also calling on the next government to increase the £10 limit currently imposed on text donations, to encourage all local authorities to enter into site-management agreements with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association and to provide funding for a small charities training programme to help small organisations to diversify and increase their income streams.
Last month, Lewis highlighted his three priorities of the manifesto at the Payroll Giving Conference held at the Home Office.
They included asking society lottery tickets to be eligible for Gift Aid, for charities running lotteries to have three years rather than one to make their minimum percentage contributions and a reversal of corporate gift aid so that charities rather than donor companies received the tax relief on the donated amounts.
Speaking at the convention today, Lewis said: "We believe that government could do more to help – both by helping to create a better environment to fundraise in, and by helping us build the capacity of small charities to fundraise.
"Whether it’s through looking at the legislation governing some forms of fundraising – for example, by reducing restrictions that surround society lotteries, supporting small charities to diversify and increase their income streams or improving how the tax system works so that it better supports fundraising – we look forward to working constructively with the next government."