Writing in Professional Fundraising magazine, Becky Slack reports that “Commercial suppliers and consultants have been barred from HMRC’s gift aid consultation events following complaints that they have been using them as an opportunity to pitch for business” (Commercial outfits banned from participating in gift aid consultation events).
Organisations with a commercial interest in Gift Aid can now engage only by submitting written responses to HMRC.
The move was taken, it seems, because several delegates had complained that some of the for-profit organisations present had used the events to promote their services.
This move is very short-sighted, and punishes all commercial organisations for the alleged misdeeds of the few. As Adrian Cutcliffe, marketing manager at Blackbaud, pointed out: “I am disappointed by this development. We have a good number of clients using our solution and when attending these events we not only represent ourselves but the needs of those clients, feeding back to those who are unable to attend.”
Do the commercial organisations have nothing to contribute to the Gift Aid review? Can the event organisers not control the occasional supplier who uses the event to promote their services? Is there no value in hearing from and debating with an organisation that has experience of hundreds of other charities’ problems with Gift Aid?
So, if you’re a charity and not in any way an organisation that (whisper it) makes a profit, you can still join in the less than comprehensive debate at the following consultations:
17 August 2007 Bristol – Mansion House, Clifton
23 August 2007 Birmingham – NEC
6 September 2007 Belfast – Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
13 September 2007 Leeds – Boddingtons Hall (tbc)
21 September 2007 Cardiff – Millennium Centre