How can the budget support charity fundraising?

How can the budget support charity fundraising?

Felicity Spencer-Smith | 4 October 2018

As the political party conference season draws to an end, we look to an important event in the political calendar – the budget. We address three key areas that the Chancellor should focus on to make the budget work for fundraising.

On 29 October the Chancellor will outline his vision for the UK economy … and it’s a particularly challenging time to do so. There is talk of an end to the age of austerity and “opening the spending taps”, but Brexit and the negotiations scheduled for November will give the Chancellor little wriggle-room on spending – and much less room to talk about anything else. That said, changes can be made to make the budget work for the charity community and maximise the money we raise.

The IoF has joined forces with our colleagues in the sector to call for progress on dormant assets worth £2 billion. This could have a huge impact, but the realisation of this will take time.

So, what rabbits would we like to see the Chancellor pull out of his hat?

Invest in fundraising skills to help small charities go the distance

This remains a key priority for us to support fundraising across the UK and since we called on this a year ago, the need and demand for charity services has continued to grow. We know that more than three-quarters of charities (78 per cent) said they had experienced a rise in demand for their services over the past year and only 14 per cent said they had the resource to meet this. And yet, according to the Civil Society Almanac, charities spent over £30 million on good causes in 2017 and therefore saved the government from footing a substantial bill.

We’re asking for the Government to make a strategic investment in a comprehensive package of support. What would this look like? Firstly, it would rely on the combined effort from the Government and the fundraising community of charities, funders and local government to make a concerted effort to play their part. By working several levers, we can create a better environment for small charity fundraisers. We’ve detailed what they could do in a previous post and are also working with the Office of Civil Society on this.

Get charity tax working better to reduce costs for charities and encourage giving

At an estimated worth of £3.77 billion a year, tax reliefs could bring serious change to the resources and assets charities have to work with. We’re calling for a review to the current system that will maximise funding for charities, which has been shared with the ongoing Charity Tax Commission too.

Among the proposals we recommend on taxation, we’ve asked for the Government to give a VAT exempt status on the writing of all Wills that include a charitable gift. As well as a nudge from the solicitor, this adds an extra incentive for those planning their Will. It’s important to have these conversations and make the process as easy as possible to normalise leaving a little money aside for your favourite charity.

A plan to make the Civil Society Strategy a reality

We back the Government’s ambitions outlined in the Civil Society Strategy and urge it to commit to work with the sector to meet their ambition to make the UK the “global centre for philanthropy”. There are two methods to target; place-based giving and giving from high net worth individuals. Targeted investment in programmes of work and collaboration supported by Government can kick start the work that is needed to make the goals of the Civil Society Strategy a reality

These proposals were included in our budget submission to the Chancellor last week. We’re hoping, as the Chancellor puts together the new budget, that he will consider these slight changes in direction to make a big difference for the fundraising community.

Read the IoF’s letter to the Chancellor


Felicity Spencer-Smith, IoF External Affairs Officer



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