Improving Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme for charities

The Institute of Fundraising and Charity Finance Group and NCVO are jointly carrying out a very short survey of charities to find out how the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) is working and how it could be improved.

GASDS was set up last year to enable charities to claim top-up payments from Government on small cash donations £20 or less. This would ensure that charities which rely on small cash donations are not unfairly penalised for cash fundraising and encourage more charities to fundraise in their local community.

As reported in sector media last month, the government has only paid out £7m to charities through GASDS, significantly less than the £50m it estimated it would pay out in its Impact Assessment. Although the scheme has only been operating for one full year, this significant undershooting of the target is a cause for concern and NCVO has called on the Government to reform the scheme in our manifesto.

At a time when charities are operating in a tough environment, we must ensure that schemes such as GASDS achieve maximum impact and support as many charities, particularly small charities, as possible.

This survey aims to identify the reasons why the scheme may not be realising its full potential and identify the biggest barriers for charities. We believe that there are issues around the lack of awareness about GASDS; eligibility criteria being too strict and the claiming process being too confusing or complicated. However, the survey will enable us to get more detailed information about the challenges charities are encountering with GASDS.

The more we know about how charities understand the scheme and their experiences of claiming through GASDS, the better placed we will be to improve it and ensure that as many charities as possible benefit.

If you have any questions or comments about GASDS, please let us know by posting a comment below.

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Andrew was NCVO’s senior policy officer. He covered issues around funding, social investment, tax and the impact of the economy on the voluntary sector. Andrew has left NCVO, but his posts are kept here for reference purposes.

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