Gift Aid is one of the greatest sources of revenue for all charities, amplifying any donations by 25%. Gift Aid claims amounted to over £1.19bn in 2014/15, but a big chunk of all charities aren’t claiming any Gift Aid at all. There’s clearly more that can be done, but what?
Make the most of HMRC’s Charities Online
HMRC Charities Online speeds up the claims process, allowing charities to receive payment within 15 working days of filing a claim, on up to 1,000 donations at a time. Charities can use their own databases to submit claims, getting repayments quicker.
Make sure your website works for you
Donors need to feel their power to make a difference: make sure your donate button is featured prominently; show how much the charity has raised so far, especially if you’re running a particular campaign or event; share your funding goal to enhance the sense of purpose; make it as easy as possible for them to contact you.
Mention Gift Aid in emails and newsletters
Despite Gift Aid having existed for nearly 26 years, public understanding is surprisingly low. Putting a small but prominent explanation of Gift Aid in each newsletter is a great way of clarifying the system for the large amount of potential donors who are unsure exactly what Gift Aid is.
Use social media properly
Social media is one of the most powerful tools for any charity. Use social media feeds to keep donors and potential donors up to date on projects, campaigns and successes.
Train volunteers to handle Gift Aid
A large proportion of volunteers don’t receive any training in the use of Gift Aid, which can be a problem as Gift Aid claims can be made much faster and with greater ease if the right questions are asked at the right time. Making certain that all of your staff properly understand the system can ensure greater uptake of Gift Aid claims.
Consult an expert
Gift Aid may not seem a particularly difficult process, largely because it isn’t. The benefits of consulting an expert on Gift Aid aren’t mainly related to clarifying the system’s structure so much as evaluating how Gift Aid could work best for you. Especially if you’re relying on retail sales to raise funds, bringing in an experienced professional might reveal new ways of collecting and processing information which could have a significant impact on the bottom line.
Find a purpose-built IT solution
Technology enables us to do almost everything better, and in recent years a number of systems for easing the processing of Gift Aid for retail charities have emerged. A lot of these systems are adapted from the commercial sector, and are therefore often unnecessarily expensive and complicated for a charity’s needs. Some experienced IT service providers have developed Gift Aid networked EPOS solutions which can essentially outsource the process of claiming Gift Aid, allowing you to focus on your core mission.
Alastair Petrie is General Manager of BMc Azurri, a company providing IT services for the charity sector