A new campaign to double the amount of payroll giving in the UK has been launched today with the backing of some of the country’s largest businesses.
The new Geared for Giving campaign is backed by BT, fashion line ASOS and law firm Linklaters, among others, and aims to increase take-up of payroll giving in businesses to £260m a year in five years’ time – twice the current amount. It aims to double the number of payroll givers to two million.
It is run by a community interest company, Geared for Giving, set up especially to run the campaign. The campaign will target marketing at businesses to encourage them to sign up to payroll giving.
BT has also committed to build a new digital platform, which for the first time will enable any PAYE employee to request to sign up to Payroll Giving.
Payroll giving allows staff to give from their salary before tax, and is a service which companies can choose to provide to their workers. However only 23 per cent of companies currently use it – mostly larger organisations.
Despite having existed for almost 30 years, payroll giving has not had a high take up, with only 23 per cent of the country’s largest employers offering the service.
Charities have historically faced problems supporting payroll giving because they do not have any information about donors, and because they rely on others to promote it in workplaces. However payroll giving can be a very effective tool if supported by employers, with the best-performing companies signing up significant percentages of the workforce.
Peter O’Hara, founder and chief executive of Geared for Giving, said: “We are on the verge of a dramatic transformation in employee giving. Payroll Giving in the UK already raises the annual equivalent to Children In Need and Comic Relief combined but it’s far from reaching its full potential, where all employees can make a regular tax free gift, no matter how large or small, straight from their pay to any charity of their choice – from big household names to the smallest community organisations.
“There is huge appetite and with the backing of top business leaders and such a large audience to engage with, we are looking forward to growing the supporter base to spread the Geared for Giving message in workplaces across the UK.”
O’Hara is the former managing director of Workplace Giving UK, which was part of the Fundraising Initiatives Group and went into liquidation in December 2015. He is now a director of Workplace Fundraising Solutions, an agency offering consultancy to businesses and charities to help develop and deliver a wide range of CSR and employee fundraising activities.