PayPal Giving Fund calls for 'Gift Aid by default' system to improve take-up

Nick Aldridge, chief executive of the fund, says a shorter declaration would make Gift Aid easier to grasp

Nick Aldridge
Nick Aldridge

The government should make it easier to claim Gift Aid on micro-donations made through online platforms and text messages, the PayPal Giving Fund has told the Treasury.

The charity, which enables eBay and PayPal users to give to good causes, was responding to the Treasury consultation Gift Aid and Digital Giving, which closed on Friday.

The PayPal Giving Fund’s response calls for a system of "Gift Aid by default" that would allow charities to assume donors want to claim Gift Aid on all donations made to charity unless they opt out.

The response says that if this suggestion is not adopted, the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme should be expanded to include digital as well as cash gifts so that charities can claim Gift Aid on up to £2,500 of online micro-donations.

The GASDS, which was introduced in April, provides a Gift Aid-like relief on up to £5,000 of small donations each year, without the need for individual paperwork. 

The PayPal Giving Fund submission says that the government’s proposals in the consultation would not significantly increase Gift Aid take-up on text and checkout donations, where it remains low.

The government has proposed shortening the Gift Aid declaration from 111 words to 52 and suggested that donors should be able to complete only one Gift Aid declaration to cover all their donations made through a specific giving platform such as JustGiving.

The PayPal Giving Fund, which certifies charities to participate in the eBay for Charity programme, says it has found it difficult to collect Gift Aid declarations on checkout donations and that take-up is about 10 per cent.

It says this is because of the difficulty and expense of including lengthy tax statements and additional check boxes at the site’s checkout, and the lack of donor motivation to complete retrospective Gift Aid declarations on small impulse donations.

Nick Aldridge, chief executive of the PayPal Giving Fund, said: "If we must keep declarations, we need to abandon the ‘kitchen sink’ approach of adding ever more lengthy small print.

"Long explanations make Gift Aid unwieldy for charities and tedious for donors. A shorter declaration would make Gift Aid easier for donors to grasp and enable more Gift Aid claims through text and mobile web."

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