Political parties urged to set up commission to stimulate giving

The next government should establish a commission on giving to encourage philanthropy across the UK, according to the former deputy chief executive of Acevo.

The proposal is one of 11 made in a suggested General Election manifesto for the voluntary sector developed by Nick Aldridge, who is now chief executive of MissionFish UK, which runs eBay for Charity.

Aldridge has sent the manifesto, which is based on discussions with the Institute of Fundraising, the Charities Aid Foundation and chief executives body Acevo, to the Labour Party. He also plans to send it to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats for consideration ahead of the next General Election, which must take place by 2010.

The manifesto asks politicians to commit to setting up a commission that would focus on the "mass affluent" and explore ways in which higher-rate taxpayers could give more actively to charity.

The commission would work with businesses to develop opportunities for consumers to give when they shop at high-street retailers or make purchases online, and would promote giving in "all Britain's diverse communities".

"There was the question of how to follow up the Giving Campaign, which lasted three years," said Aldridge. "The commission will be the answer to that.

"It would need to include quite a few of the fundraising charities and the experts in the field. Its remit would be to ask: 'Why has giving in this country remained static?' The number of givers seems to be falling, but those who do give, give more."

The document also proposes more support for research and development in new technology to help charities communicate with their audiences, the development of a network of fundraising advisers to support small charities and improvements to the Gift Aid system, including a change that would allow young people in full-time education to claim tax relief on charitable donations.

THE WISH LIST

Aldridge's manifesto suggestions include calls to:

- Establish a commission on giving to find ways of stimulating philanthropy among the population.

- Work with Capacitybuilders to invest in the development of a network of fundraising advisers who can support small charities at minimal cost.

- Allow charities to reclaim Gift Aid as an agreed proportion of their voluntary income.

- Raise awareness of Gift Aid through a dedicated campaign with fundraising charities.

- Bring the Gift Aid system online and speed up the claims process.

- Promote planned giving by making it easier and cheaper to set up personal charitable trusts and explore vehicles such as lifetime legacies.

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