Charity fundraising – squeezing the Gift Aid Lemon

Published July 2020

The efforts that go into charity fundraising is inspirational. However, don’t forget Gift Aid. Even if you have it covered you need a way of filling in the gaps. Good admin raises a lot of money, too!

AND BEST OF ALL if you have volunteers or team members who are less keen to get out and fundraise but do like to be organised, then this is a great job to delegate! It could bring in a surprising amount of money just by doing the paperwork. It’s worth checking out if you have gaps in your claim, or even whopping great holes you don’t know how to tackle 🙂

Whether you are a large national organisation or small youth group, getting Gift Aid right can bring in much needed revenue. This blog is about going back and checking you have maximised your claim.

It’s still true… much Gift Aid remains unclaimed

There are millions of ideas on how to raise money; slightly bonkers but catchy ones, incredibly creative ones, “capturing the moment” ones and, of course, the long established charity fundraising that is not so exciting but does terribly well.

It’s very competitive. So, you will be in popular demand if you are experienced and understand how charity fundraising works. 

If you are not the kind of person who can generate ideas and push them through, there is a lot you can do to bring in money with some investigation and desk research. As reported in Civil Society News, research by HMRC in 2018 estimated around £600 million of Gift Aid remained unclaimed. Of course, some of that could be waiting for your organisation. Are you the person to figure out how to get it?

You know that the money raised can be increased by 25% (Wikipedia explains this well and gives a clear example). It’s fun to explain how donors can reclaim some of their donation through their self-assessment tax submission. For your organisation to get the additional money from the government, you will need gift aid declarations from each donor. Research shows that this can be hit or miss.

A suggested approach to getting the most out of Gift Aid

Review your past fundraising activities 

Include activities that generated small cash donations

Don’t forget the events that raised small sums of cash. It is worth looking back through the calendar to identify anything could be claimable. Think about collection tins, coffee mornings where donations were collected, summer BBQ events where people made small cash donations and so on. In fact, anything where individual cash donations of less than £30 were received. You may be able to claim under the horribly named “Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme”, or GASDS. As opposed to regular Gift Aid, this scheme does not require donors to complete Gift Aid declarations making the process a lot more straightforward. It is another spreadsheet but those small amounts soon add up. You can make retrospective claims up to two years.

The NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations), has an excellent article on GASDS. Put aside an hour or two to understand how it works and start searching for opportunities to claim. Check out the details regarding “collections in community buildings” as you might find this applies to you (and read the section on connected charities). Make sure you understand the limits of the claim, and get your thinking cap on 🙂

Do the research

Check that you are a registered charity or a community amature sports club (CASC).

In the UK, you can use the Charity Commission charity finder to check, (it’s a bit of a mess, but nonetheless, it is simple to use when you tune into it!). Or, if you are a community sports group, look at the HMRC lists of registered CASCs to see if you are on it.

Start drawing-up some lists

To get the most out of your research, you could consider organising two lists of charity fundraising events… There may be some overlap between the two…

  1. Events where you have missing Gift Aid Declaration forms.
  2. Events that received small donations.

If you have someone in your organisation who has submitted your Gift Aid claim before, talk to them to see how you can determine which donations have not yet been claimed for. Alternatively, talk to anyone who has run fundraisers in the past. They may have insights into activities where Gift Aid was not fully followed through. Nudge them to think about the small cash donations they may have received, too (see above).

Get into the weeds

The ultimate objective is to take each of your lists above and get to the details.

Don’t be put off. Look at old programmes and newsletters. Check out your organisation’s events calendar or old flyers in the foyer! Facebook pages will most likely mention many of your events. Cross check with whoever does your accounts and/or submits your claims forms. You don’t need to get everything, although every small discovery is an opportunity for a Gift Aid Claim.

  • Which donors have never appeared on the Gift Aid Claims form? (go back as far as you can. Four years is the maximum cutoff)
  • Which events received small cash donations, and how much did each event raise? (the cutoff for this is two years)

Action!

Getting missing Gift Aid Declarations

Set up a simple online form. We cover some options for this in more detail in our post Gift Aid Declarations. We recommend our own forms as they are pre-written and fully online but there are alternatives to consider too.

If you use Groupsend, you email a link to your donors with a nice covering email. Groupsend will generate a basic email to get you started. It takes minutes.

The online forms can be filled in on a mobile phone, iPad or computer and they are very short. You should get a high return rate. As each person completes their form you will get notified and you can get an up to date report at any time. If you are worried you don’t have GDPR permission to send an email, there is an option to ask for that at the same time. Simple.

BTW, you can post the link to the form on your website or Facebook page. It’s Especially useful if you have a download and print form on there currently, as it makes the whole job of collecting forms much quicker.

Small Donations – GASDS

One you have your list of small cash donation events alongside the amounts they raised, you send it to whoever completes your claim application.

Conclusion

Looking back through past events can bring money into your organisation and make the most of previous charity fundraising efforts. Re-focusing on the different types of Gift Aid may increase the amount of future claims, too. If you use good processes for collecting and recording donations and declarations, you could well be an important contributor to your organization’s income.

Isn’t it cool that you don’t need to ask for money from anyone! For many organisations, it’s there already. Waiting for your claim 🙂

Where will you start?

Groupsend