THINKPIECE: Why the fault doesn't lie with payroll giving

Bill Lane, director of South West Charitable Giving

I was disappointed to read the Member Viewpoint last month that there is little incentive for smaller charities to promote payroll giving (Third Sector, 9 April). This shows an almost total lack of understanding as to how the scheme works.

The Giving Campaign produced a series of products called The Business of Giving outlining how charities can take advantage of payroll giving . As these pointed out, it is important to promote the causes employees can support rather than the mechanics of payroll giving.

The fundamental difficulty with the payroll-giving scheme is that donors can only give through the payroll if their employer, or pension provider, has signed an agreement to operate the scheme with an appropriate agency.

The promotion of payroll giving must come from the causes whether this be represented by individual charities, the professional fundraising organisations or charitable-minded employees.

There are often complaints that the field of payroll giving is dominated by leading charity players and that there are increasing problems of getting into corporations. There is a feeling in the sector that the cake should be split more evenly. But the competition for donations is becoming harder across the sector and this argument reminds me of my daughter at nursery who complained that "the big boys get all the sweets".

But this should not be blamed on the payroll-giving scheme.

It is disappointing to see the Giving Campaign criticised for its work in this area, particularly as it was a result of a comment made by Tina Steele, project manager of a payroll-giving campaign run on behalf of the Institute of Fundraising and nothing to do with the Giving Campaign itself.

There has been an immense amount of work put into the promotion of the scheme by not only the Giving Campaign, but also the Inland Revenue, Business in the Community, some large companies and the Institute of Fundraising.

The scheme is a good way of raising tax-effective donations and has probably increased individual giving more rapidly than could have been achieved through Gift Aid alone. It is not the scheme that is at fault, but those many fundraisers who do not fully understand it and who have struggled to attract donors to their causes.

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