Survey indicates preference for opt-out payroll giving

Poll at Workplace Giving UK website was filled in by 1,000 people

Peter O’Hara, managing director of Workplace Giving UK
Peter O’Hara, managing director of Workplace Giving UK

More than two-thirds of people would prefer payroll giving to run on an opt-out system than by the current opt-in method, according to a new poll.

More than 1,000 people filled in a survey on the website of the payroll giving company Workplace Giving.

It found that 68 per cent of participants supported a system in which people would have to opt out of payroll giving if they did not wish to take part.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents said that if they did not opt out they would want some say over which charities their donations went to, rather than leaving it to their employers.

Peter O’Hara, managing director of Workplace Giving UK, said many people had good intentions about giving to charity but never got round to doing anything about it.

"But individuals have really strong views about where they want their money to go and where they don’t," he said.

Janet Forster-Warnes, chair of the Association of Payroll Giving Organisations, said the most important thing was to impose payroll giving schemes on employers rather than employees: "One of the biggest problems is that not all employers offer a scheme."

Hannah Terrey, head of policy at the Charities Aid Foundation, which operates the payroll giving scheme Give As You Earn, said it was encouraging that so many people would support an opt-out system.

"There is increasing interest from government and policy-makers in how small changes can affect the way we behave," she said.

Terrey said this had been inspired by examples such as the introduction of opt-out pensions in the US: case studies have shown a rise in membership from between 20 and 40 per cent to about 90 per cent among new employees three months after they were hired, she said.

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