A requirement for television channels to give a certain amount of airtime to good causes and the introduction of living legacies are among the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry into how charitable giving could be increased.
The report of the Charities Aid Foundation’s Growing Giving inquiry, published today, makes suggestions including government incentives for businesses to match-fund donations by employees and calls on companies to set up "giving circles" in the workplace that would support good causes in different ways.
The report says that despite the best efforts of charities and government, levels of charitable giving have remained relatively static over the past 10 years.
The inquiry was chaired by David Blunkett, the Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, Andrew Percy, the Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole, and the Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Tyler of Enfield.
Its report says that licences for all TV channels should require a "modest amount of time" committed each year for programming aimed at fostering charitable giving.
This would allow charities to make short presentations publicly at peak times in order to raise awareness of their work and encourage greater support from the public, it says.
The report also calls for the introduction of US-style living legacies, which allow individuals to leave a legacy to charity while they are alive in return for a tax break.
The report says living legacies would allow a charity to benefit from "certainty of income and an asset on their balance sheet to help plan their future finances".
They were called a "spurious distraction" by Joe Saxton, co-founder of research consultancy, nfpSynergy, during one of the inquiry’s evidence sessions. He said that charities should instead focus on legacies.
The report says that charity work should become an integral part of careers advice for students in schools, and that will-makers should be encouraged to tell clients that they could use their will to leave a legacy to charity.
It suggests that the government should establish a task force to examine and push forward developments in digital giving.
Suggestions for charities include encouraging them to build upon "Giving Tuesday" – a US initiative that CAF plans to run in this country, in which people are asked to make a charitable donation on the Tuesday after the US holiday of Thanksgiving.
The report also says that the Small Charities Coalition should provide a programme that would offer young people the chance to shadow charity trustees to give them first-hand experience of charity governance.