A report today on Third Sector’s web site states that, from a survey of 896 charities, “more than four in 10 charities do not maximise their Gift Aid claims,” and that “the main reason cited by respondents for not using online systems was that they lacked IT capability. Only 15 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to pay more than £50 for software, and 42 per cent said they would not be willing to pay anything at all, including 15 charities with incomes of more than £25m a year.”
I can’t believe this! Can that really be the case that so many charities don’t see the benefit of spending any money at all on software to help them make Gift Aid claims? It beggars belief. To the extent that I actually wonder how the relevant question(s) were phrased in the survey. Is it that those charities who responded in this way already have a fundraising database and therefore don’t want to spend more money on specific Gift Aid software? If so, then I can understand that, as I would hope that most fundraising databases should be able to manage Gift Aid perfectly adequately, at least at a basic level, even if they can’t all manage all the complex nuances of specific, more difficult Gift Aid rules. (And I have to believe that this is the case for those 15 charities with income over £25m a year – they can’t be running Gift Aid on paper based systems…)
I do realise that some Gift Aid issues are more complex than Gift Aid on 'straight forward' donations, and so those respondents who “supported the simplification of current rules [for] auctions, entrance to attractions, sponsored events and donations through self-assessment tax returns” probably have a fair case; such claims can be more difficult to administrate and automate in software packages - although not impossible. But in terms of ‘standard’ donations, it is interesting that Barry Gower, Gift Aid expert at GAIN, recently stated at the IoF National Conference that he feels the current Gift Aid system “is not broken”.
Either way, we have what we have at the moment, so that is no reason not to spend at least some money on ensuring you maximise your Gift Aid revenue. In fact, I wonder if it is a charity's moral duty?
Or do they think the software is too complicated to use? That the administration to run such software systems is so high that it outweighs any extra income? Surely not. And do they not know there is dedicated Gift Aid Management Software for small organisations which costs from just £30?
So, please, if you work for one of the charities who responded to this survey and who said they weren’t willing to spend anything at all, then let me know why in the Comments sections below. Have I mis-understood your needs or message? Or has the report misconstrued your answers? Because you have to trust me here – one of the best investments you will ever make in software for your charity is on software which will help you do Gift Aid claims. It is one area we can really show an almost guaranteed ROI! The largest charities can claim thousands and thousands of pounds as a result and even the smallest charity who does pro-active fundraising will surely benefit from either a decent fundraising database which supports gift aid processing or the simplest of Gift Aid software packages.
Because, if it really is the case that such charities are not using any software at all to manage their Gift Aid then that worries and depresses me. Please tell me I’m wrong. And you won’t hear that very often from a consultant!