Payroll giving is easy (Originally published in Payroll World)
It was encouraging to see discussion on payroll giving ('The art of giving', Payroll World, March 2008, page 17). Despite the tax benefits, the response from businesses has been rather slow.
It is true that the tax effective payroll giving scheme, launched In 1987, opened the flood gates for payroll giving but, in my view, the take off has not been as great as it could have, or indeed, should have been due to a number of factors.
Firstly, the UK Government's publicity of the scheme has not been at the forefront of everyone's mind — people need to be reminded of this more regularly. Some people have never heard of it, including a new generation of people on payroll who, at the inception of the scheme, were students and therefore not in any employment.
Secondly, the scheme could take a long time to set up, or at least this is the opinion that many employers have. Again, clearly more work needs to be done in this area to change this perception.
The publicity needs to focus on how easy it is to set the scheme up and that it does not, in itself, result in businesses and employers having to invest a substantial amount of time or money.
Finally, the general public does not have, in my view, a strong knowledge of how the money recovered through payroll giving is used. The perception is that it takes away the individual donor's right to choose which charity they are going to help. All in all, perhaps it is time to publicise the existence of the payroll giving scheme, so that what I believe is an extremely useful incentive can 'take off' and result in a substantial generation of donations for the charitable sector.