Action needed to boost payroll giving

Only 3% of UK employees donated to charity through payroll in 2011/12, according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

The research, The journey so far … insights into 25 years of payroll giving, found that £118 million was donated via payroll by 735,000 employees.

It also found that only 1.9% of under-30s in employment give through payroll, compared to 4.5% of employees aged between 30 and 49, and 3.9% among those between the ages of 50 and 64.

The payroll-giving scheme, which was introduced in 1987, allows employees to donate to charity from their gross pay before tax is deducted. Between 1999 and 2003, the number of people giving through payroll nearly trebled.

The research also found:

  • Donations through payroll giving have shown an annual growth rate of 9.7% since 1990/91.
  • Since 1998/99, the number of employers offering the option to staff has grown annually by 7.5%.
  • The average annual donation per payroll giving has doubled, from £82 in 1990/91 to £161 in 2011/12.
  • The highest number of enrolled employers was 8,752 in 2007/08.
  • Between 1998/99 and 2002/03, overall annual donations via payroll giving trebled, rising from £42 million to £115 million.

Hannah Terrey, head of policy and campaigns at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “Payroll giving has massive untapped potential to encourage people to make a regular contribution to the causes people care about.

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“Many major [organisations] and their staff take advantage of this means of giving, but we need to do so much more to encourage millions more to give.

“We need to recruit a new generation of employees to get into giving as they earn, so they can build long-term links with charities and experience the joy of supporting a cause they care about.”