Payroll giving campaign aims to double donations within five years

First launched in 2008, the Geared for Giving campaign is being relaunched today under a new community interest company

Campaign relaunched today
Campaign relaunched today

A campaign is being relaunched today to double donations from payroll giving to £260m per year within five years.

The Geared for Giving campaign, which was originally launched in 2008 by the now-defunct professional fundraising organisation Workplace Giving, will now be run by a newly established community interest company, according to its founder Peter O’Hara.

The campaign is designed increase the amount being donated by employees through payroll from £130m to £260m by 2021 and double the number of employees giving in this way from one million to two million over the same period.

O’Hara, who was the managing director of Workplace Giving until it went into administration in 2015, told Third Sector the campaign had been relaunched because there was huge potential for payroll giving to be more widespread. He bought the campaign from his former employer’s administrators earlier this year.

O’Hara said he believed the UK was on the verge of a dramatic transformation in employee giving because several big-ticket employers had pledged their support to the campaign.

The companies Asos, BT, Beaverbrooks, Experian, Linklaters LLP and The Entertainer have become founding partners of the Geared for Giving CIC and are providing funding.

At a lunch today in London, Sir Michael Rake, chairman of the telecommunications giant BT, will call for every employer in the UK with more than 250 employees to offer payroll giving to their staff.

BT has also committed to build a new digital platform, which for the first time will enable any PAYE employee to request to sign up to payroll giving.

O’Hara said that payroll giving rose by 25 per cent during the eight years Geared for Giving was running.

In 2008, an average of 4.5 per cent of company employees donated in this way, compared with about 6 per cent today, he said. Just 23 per cent of the UK’s largest employers offer payroll giving.

O’Hara also said in a statement: "Payroll giving in the UK already raises the annual equivalent to Children In Need and Comic Relief combined, but it’s far from reaching its full potential. There is huge appetite and, with the backing of top business leaders and such a large audience to engage with, we are looking forward to growing the supporter base to spread the Geared for Giving message in workplaces across the UK."

The original campaign was launched in the House of Commons with the support of celebrities including Duncan Bannatyne, one of the dragons from the BBC's business-related series Dragons' Den.

It estimated at the time that charities were losing out on £900m a year because not enough people donated through their payroll.

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