Forty per cent of people who give to charity through payroll giving do not give to charity in any other way, delegates heard yesterday.
In a session on whether payroll giving can be a successful part of corporate fundraising, Stephen Noble, head of workplace giving and corporate support at the children's charity Barnardo's, was asked whether charities should concentrate on increasing direct debit donations rather than on payroll giving.
Noble said research had shown that payroll giving reached people who were otherwise unlikely to give to charity. "There's good evidence and research that shows that 40 per cent of people who give through their pay don't give any other way," he said. "It can reach a younger and more male audience than other forms of giving."
But he said it was easier for charities to control their relationships with direct debit donors than with people who gave through payroll.
Mervi Slade, payroll giving manager at Save the Children, agreed that this form of giving gave the charity access to a new group of donors. "You get people who wouldn't give to you in any other way," she said. She added that payroll giving was also particularly important if employers matched employees' gifts.
Noble said there was also evidence that people in the UK were giving larger gifts through payroll giving today than in previous years, because the number of payroll givers had stayed the same while the amount of money charities were receiving had increased.
"At Barnardo's we regularly see some very valuable gifts, usually around late March or early April" he said. Significant regular gifts were sometimes set up through payroll giving, and one donor had recently signed up to give the charity £445 a month.
Noble said the industries he generally found to be most generous with payroll giving were financial services, where employees understood that it was a tax-efficient way to give, and manufacturing.
Asked whether charities could raise money from internal payroll-giving schemes, Slade said that, when Save the Children launched payroll giving internally last summer, it decided not to encourage people to give to Save the Children.
"It was really important for us that people were not asked to give to Save the Children," she said. "I would have felt uncomfortable asking staff for that." Even so, she said, 40 per cent who signed up chose to give to Save the Children.