Financial sustainability won’t be easy for the charity sector

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July 22, 2015 at 09:48

Today, has seen the launch of the review into the financial sustainability of the voluntary sector, conducted by CFG, NCVO, Institute of Fundraising, Locality, NAVCA and Small Charities Coalition. It has been a long piece of work, involving a call for evidence from the voluntary sector, with more than 100 charities responding to a detailed survey; pouring over existing statistics, synthesising various strands of research and forecasting the future of the sector’s finances. The full report, which you can download here, is a wakeup call for the charity sector, government and funders. Although the economy appears on the road to […]

Some lessons from HMRC’s Higher Rate Gift Aid Donors report

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July 17, 2015 at 09:30

HMRC has published some research that it had commissioned on understanding charitable giving and Gift Aid behaviour amongst better-off individuals. Although I am not convinced that this was the best use of HMRC’s budget (see below), there are some lessons that we can learn from this research – despite the small sample size. Here are a few things to take away from HMRC’s research: We need to improve public awareness of Gift Aid Despite the individuals being interviewed earning significant amounts and potentially claiming thousands of pounds worth of Gift Aid, it is concerning that many participants were confused about […]

We can’t ignore the charity sector’s financial situation

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July 13, 2015 at 15:34

Our sector has had a few days to recover from the decisions outlined in the Chancellor’s Budget last week. Although charities were not the focus, the decisions taken within it are going to have a big impact on our operating environment for the coming five years. Often we talk about the issues facing the sector in isolation; however, this is not how charities will experience them. It seems likely that over the next few years three things are going to put considerable pressure on already fragile financial situation: 1)    More cuts in government income, both grants and contracts 2)    Increasing […]

#volsecbudget 2015 – CFG Live Blog

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July 8, 2015 at 09:12

09/07/2015 – 19:16 – AF This afternoon I attended the IFS post-budget briefing. Given the scale of the changes introduced it covered a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time so will I provide a more detailed update later. But for now, I am going to briefly summarise the key issues that I think are relevant to charity finance. I do also recommend that you take a look at the materials available on their website. The opening remarks made by director of the IFS, Paul Johnson, neatly provides the IFS’s over-arching narrative: that it is hard to see […]

How to avoid errors when claiming tax reliefs

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June 22, 2015 at 10:10

Nearly 70,000 charities claim tax reliefs worth billions every year. However common errors not only create problems for charities, but increase the costs for HMRC, creating delays and diverting funding that could go towards promoting the tax reliefs towards helping people to fill out their claim forms. Last year, HMRC provided a helpful ‘Top Tips’ sheet which charities can use to make the claiming process smoother. However, here is a quick overview of some of the top errors and some tips for avoiding them. Common errors when claiming 1. Duplicating the amounts of Gift Aid and Gift Aid Small Donations […]

Government misses chance to integrate civil society into policy agenda

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June 2, 2015 at 12:07

What’s a cabinet committee? It’s probably just politicos like myself that get excited by the appointments to Cabinet Committees, but they are far more important than the much more prestigious Cabinet where only top level discussions take place. These committees handle the day-to-day decision making of government and are where the policy agenda of the government is hammered out between the various competing departments. Those committees on Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Economic policy are the most important, but there are a number of small committees which work on particular topical areas, such as the committee that has now been […]

Section 75 debt reform – an opportunity we cannot afford to miss

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May 26, 2015 at 15:59

Last Friday saw the close of the Department for Work and Pension’s call for evidence on (the catchily titled) Section 75 Employer Debt in Non-Associated Multi-Employer Defined Benefit Schemes. I assume that most readers of this blog know what non-associated multi-employer defined benefit schemes are but for the uninitiated, these are scheme including more than one employer that are unrelated (i.e. are not owned in common or under common control) where employees are promised a specific monthly payment on retirement. What is the problem? Like all employers, many charities have seen their defined benefit schemes go from surplus to substantial […]

CFG Live Blog – General Election 2015

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May 8, 2015 at 09:36

12/05/2015 – 19:00 – New Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson Rob Wilson has been reappointed Minister for Civil Society. It will be interesting to see if the Local Sustainability Fund will be put into place and whether the government will continue its focus on the social investment agenda. You can see sector wide comments on this issue here. 12/05/2015 – 10:10 – New Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (aka Charity Tax Minister), Damian Hinds Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, has been made Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury which is in charge of charitable tax reliefs. Damian is seen […]

What did we learn from the latest Charity Tax Stats?

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May 1, 2015 at 12:17

Blink and you probably missed it, but yesterday, HMRC produced its update to the Charity Tax Statistics for 2014-15. While this might not sound important, they are an important window into the finances of the charity sector. Here are three things that charities should take away from the statistics: 1.    There is still a lot of potential to grow Gift Aid The NAO believes that £2.3bn of donations are currently not being claimed for Gift Aid, so it is pleasing to see the amount of Gift Aid being paid out to charities increased by £130m to £1.2bn in 2014-15. CFG […]

Will somebody please think about Gift Aid?

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April 23, 2015 at 12:31

It may seem odd in the midst of one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent memory to put in an impassioned plea for politicians to think about Gift Aid, but the relief is worth over £1bn a year for charities, so we should never stop championing it! If you were hoping that the next government would put Gift Aid at the heart of its agenda then, like me, you would have been disappointed. None of the main manifestos outlined substantive measures to enhance charitable giving, but on the positive side this does mean that nothing that could […]