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Benevolent fund exposes delays of up to 14 months in payroll gifts

Benevolent fund exposes delays of up to 14 months in payroll gifts
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Benevolent fund exposes delays of up to 14 months in payroll gifts2

Fundraising | Celina Ribeiro | 29 Jun 2012

Donations and donors signed up through payroll giving are falling into a "black hole", according to a charity that recently entered the payroll giving system.

Around a year ago the Charity for Civil Servants moved from its traditional methods of soliciting post-tax, regular giving from civil servants to working with payroll giving agencies in processing pre-tax donations.

The charity now estimates it is missing around £4,500 a month in donations.

As the charity signs up donors directly, forwarding on the forms to payment centres, it holds records of who has signed up, for how much, and when their donations are due to arrive.

Karen Grant-Bond, fundraising and individual giving manager at the Charity for Civil Servants, said: "We've got a really big problem where people seem to disappear.

"We've got a black hole where we're not receiving the money."

The charity's corporate fundraising officer Joseph Carroll said that delays between sign-up and the first donations of seven or eight months is not uncommon, but there are cases of having to wait 14 months to receive a gift.

"By adding a payroll giving agency to our process we seem to have increased the difficulties," he said.

Grant-Bond added that the problem was across all payroll giving agencies.

"Payroll giving is meant to be regular income for charities, but for us it's become a headache," she said.

"It baffles me that there is no transparency. We've been left in the lurch."

Speaking at the Institute of Fundraising's special interest group on payroll giving conference this morning, the institute's chief executive Peter Lewis expressed support for payroll giving, but reiterated the line: "We are calling for the whole system to be fundamentally changed to make it easier for people to give."

Peter O'Hara
Managing Director
Workplace Giving UK
29 Jun 2012

I really feel I must comment on this piece as I think this article is unfair or the comments have been taken out of context?

Having worked in the scheme since 2009, I would suggest that the 'black hole' issues could be at the payroll department's end and that the forms are not reaching the correct payroll departments for set up in the first place? With Government departments this can sometimes be an issue from personal experience as there are so many different variations.

Is the charity getting a confirmation of employee set up from these payroll departments? And are they sending a copy of the form to the relevant PGA? These are key reasons why monies are delayed in my experience and its important these steps are happening so monies flow smoothly through the scheme.

There are delays occasionally with monies going through the system, but this is normally in the set up, rather than when this reaches one of the PGA's.

In my experience the agencies are being really proactive on these issues currently, so I am very surprised by these comments and without the fuller picture over how the scheme works, this article appears as another bashing to a scheme that has delivered over £1.2 billion to the sector.

If anyone wants help or advice they can get in touch with me!


Paul Cook
Business Development Executive
Charities Aid Foundation
29 Jun 2012
Response to [Peter O'Hara ]

I agree with Peter - the most frequent reason for donations 'disappearing' is a breakdown of the process between the payroll department of the donor and the PGA. I used to perform donor care duties for a PFO just over a year ago, and I can (without hesitation) state that the problem tends to lay with the payroll departments losing the paperwork or not sending the details to the PGA to be able to assign the donation. In particular, the govenment agencies or where there are large volumes of staff, tend to be the major culprits.

Employers need to be smarter in the way that they process instructions to the PGA's. There are some who have almost flawless practices when it comes to this process, but there are still too many employers not taking the process seriously enough to ensure the donor instructions are treated with the same level of importance as any other request they receive.

...Well said, Peter!

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