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Decline in Payroll Giving leaves charities missing out on millions, CAF says

A calculator and piles of coins

Fewer employees are donating through Payroll Giving, research by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has found, with the number using the scheme falling by 13% since 2020.

Just 516,000 employees are participating in Payroll Giving, according to the latest data. The total amount donated to charities via the scheme is also falling, down 7% year on year from £137 million in 2021 to £128 million in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available.

Employers have the option to provide staff with a Payroll Giving scheme, also known as Give As You Earn, which works in a similar way to salary sacrifice by providing employees with a simple and tax-efficient way to make regular donations to charities.

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Only around 4,000 organisations currently provide this benefit, including Tesco, AstraZeneca and government departments. There are however more than 45,000 employers in the UK that could offer the scheme. There are also currently 30 million people on PAYE who could be eligible to give through Payroll Giving. 

CAF polling indicates an opportunity to change things, with 59% of people saying they have not heard of Payroll Giving. Its research also shows the opportunity is greatest among the millennial generation of employees and jobseekers who increasingly want to work for a company with a social purpose. Younger employees are the most likely to say they would use a Payroll Giving scheme (36% of 16–34-year-olds).  CAF suggests that employers can take steps to encourage take-up such as making it easy to opt in and out, and matching donations.

Neil Heslop OBE, Chief Executive, Charities Aid Foundation said:

“It’s concerning that the number of employers and employees taking advantage of this valuable benefit is declining. Payroll Giving provides an incredibly powerful platform for companies to support their giving in the workplace and can be a lifeline for charities at a time when their incomes are squeezed.

 

“That’s why we would like to see a renewed and joined-up focus on promoting Payroll Giving from providers, employers and the Government. For individuals who can afford to give, it’s a simple way to donate regularly or even on an ad-hoc basis to causes that matter to you.”

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