Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research shares free online Gift Aid tool

Technology shows the value and speed of open-source software, says the charity's head of digital, Thomas Muirhead

Thomas Muirhead

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is offering other charities the free use of technology it has developed to make its donor database ready for the new online Gift Aid filing system.

The blood cancer charity has created an extension to the open-source database software it uses, called CiviCRM, which will allow it to make Gift Aid claims electronically when HM Revenue & Customs’ Charities Online system goes live on 22 April.

Charity umbrella bodies had raised concerns that the introduction of the electronic submission system would require charities to spend time and money updating their databases.

The charity’s new technology enables a database to be integrated with the new Gift Aid system so that the information needed for claims can be automatically sent to HMRC.

CiviCRM is designed for use by not-for-profit organisations and has an estimated 1,000 users in the UK.

Both CiviCRM and the add-on that the charity has developed are open-source software, so they are freely available to other charities.

The charity spent about £1,500 on developing the technology and said it had made CiviCRM the first major fundraising software to be ready for online Gift Aid.

Thomas Muirhead, head of digital and customer relationship management at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: "We are expecting to easily recoup those costs in terms of efficiency. Anything that makes claiming Gift Aid more accurate and easier is of great value to an organisation like ours.

"What this also shows is the value and speed with which open-source software can react. If you use open-source software such as CiviCRM, the plug-in is available for anyone to use before HMRC even launches the new system."

The work on the software extension was carried out by technology company Veda Consulting.

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