Each year, more than £600 million is going unclaimed in Gift Aid.
This is additional money that your trust or school could be benefitting from, helping to boost the value of donations you receive by 25%.
But how do you go about accessing the hundreds, and in some cases, tens of thousands of pounds of unclaimed money you’re entitled to? A simple change of process, accompanied by the support of parents, can make all the difference.
Gift Aid and your school or trust
If you’re wondering what Gift Aid is exactly, it’s a Government scheme designed to add 25% to all donations made to charities, such as schools and trusts, by UK taxpayers.
HMRC states: “Every time an individual donates £1 to your charity, you can reclaim an additional 25p in Gift Aid from HMRC. Therefore, you can uplift your eligible donations by 25%.”
This applies to donations on:
But doesn’t apply to:
However, to claim Gift Aid you must first be registered as a charity. While this is the first hurdle you need to overcome, there are others closer to home that need to be tackled too.
Funding for schools and trusts has been consistently cut over the years, with many state schools experiencing some of the biggest funding cuts since the 1980s.
Therefore, many parents are asked to contribute to specific things on a case-by-case basis. One common example of these is school trips. But because schools cannot charge for a school trip that’s part of the National Curriculum, you can ask for a voluntary contribution.
However, because there’s an exchange of services it doesn’t automatically qualify for Gift Aid. And if a parent doesn’t want to contribute, your school will need to make up the shortfall. If the trip doesn’t go ahead, due to low interest and funds, your school could end up losing money refunding parents, with services like online payments charging refund fees.
As this is a big issue, there is another alternative that we call the ‘One-School’ methodology.
This approach involves asking parents for a regular voluntary donation, which could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly, where a certain amount of money is donated to the school for enrichment activities.
For voluntary donation to be eligible for Gift Aid, the following needs to apply:
Because the donations aren’t compulsory, one of the main hurdles you could come up against is convincing parents of the benefits of this new ‘One-School’ method.
Getting parental buy-in
Because parents currently don’t make regular voluntary donations, there could be some reluctance on their part. After all, they may be wondering why their donation is supporting other children to enjoy enrichment activities.
However, what you need to do is communicate with them how beneficial it will be for their children and the school in the long-run.
Under the current transactional process of paying for school trips, if a trip is cancelled due to insufficient parents paying, the charges are paid by the school and this takes away from the overall provision. It also costs the school office a huge amount of time in wasted administration. With the continued challenge placed upon school budgets this archaic process over time will reduce capacity for schools to provide trips.
Under the ‘One-School’ method those who can give, do, through their voluntary donations. Schools can review their fundraising pot which is automatically uplifted by 25% through Gift Aid. The school knows in advance about what money is available for enrichment activities, and can use this without the fear of cancellation and wasted time. Simple!
You may also be worried about the process of changing to the new model. However, by involving all departments and the parents, you can demonstrate how this is a viable option for the school or trust. By involving everyone you’ll be able to highlight the benefits for all involved, work towards creating a sea-of-change within the educational system, and access money you’re entitled to.
The Gift Aid video is a useful introduction to the challenges facing schools when it comes to budget cuts, fundraising, and claiming Gift Aid. Meanwhile, the starter pack will provide you with all the information you need around how to claim Gift Aid, such as;
Once you’ve armed yourself with all the information in the video and pack, you’ll be equipped with the answers and more when it comes to persuading parents.
It can also bring real benefits to involve parents from the beginning. While you may be worried that you won’t get the interest, studies have found that around 50% of parents know they’re doing too little, while 65% wish they could do more for their children’s school.
There are a number of ways you can generate engagement and input from parents, such as creating polls on school social media pages and sending letters and emails containing questionnaires. If you have a PTA, you can leverage this too, consulting with the members about the best way to approach voluntary donations with the wider parent network.
This involvement will provide you with a better way to relay the information around Gift Aid to parents while highlighting the benefits. Meanwhile, successful parental involvement in a child’s education has shown to have a positive impact in other areas, such as test scores, grades, behaviour, attendance, social skills, and adaption.
Benefits for everyone
Switching to voluntary contributions that are eligible for Gift Aid can benefit your school, trust, pupils, and parents in the following ways:
While it may seem difficult at first, researching your parent-base and Gift Aid will bring benefits in the long run for you and your school or trust.
Need a hand?
If your school or trust is ready to make a change and access money that’s rightfully yours, Pebble can help.
Our software tool, Tali, can help you claim this additional income quickly and simply while also generating forms for HMRC without any additional stress for you or your staff.
To find out more, and to bring the added benefits to your school or trust, get in touch with the Pebble team today.
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