To set up a charity giving account is a good idea, and could revolutionise how charity is funded in England and beyond. Most of us like to give to causes we feel passionate about. And it’s nearly always better to give to small charities, that tend to use all the funds on work, rather than on adverts and free pens. Big charities that use shock tactics through TV ads pay thousands on upsetting media, when that work could instead go to good causes. And only give to humane medical research, which is kinder and more effective too.
What percentage you give is up to you. 10% is often used (‘tithing’ is in the Bible) where you give 10% or more of income to good causes. Of course, don’t do this if it means you and yours could go short of daily essentials. But it’s a good percentage for everyone else. The problem is that as soon as you give to one good cause, often you are then bombarded with upsetting emails and you often then have to give, as you can’t bear the thought of the charity not receiving the funds. All well and good – but what happens if over a year you give 2 small donations weekly to different tiny charities – then get emails from 100 charities all begging for money? That’s where the problems start.
The solution is simple. You don’t give direct to the charity: instead you set up a giving account (see options below). This enables you to then give to your heart’s content, to charities of your choice. But it’s all done anonymously (the way giving should be). And then you can split and choose donations, and the charities can get on with using donations, rather than spending time asking people to donate more money (we would in a perfect world, but if you have a starving donkey, a homeless dog, a baby that needs fresh water and a hospital that needs a ventilator, it becomes terrible to make choices). This is the solution. The charity still gets all the money you would have donated, but then you can choose which charities to go for: and if for any reason you decide a charity is not using the donations wisely, you can simply switch to somewhere else, and won’t be contacted again.
CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) is the main site to visit. You have to give a few details, but then in a week or so, you get a free account, then you can give anonymously to charities here and abroad, all anonymously. There are over 160,000 charities to choose from and you can always add others, if need be. They can handle Gift Aid (which gives charities 25% more) and companies can also arrange payroll giving and corporate giving.
If you have more money to give, you can also have them help you to set up a Charitable Trust Fund, where you can give larger amounts (you can also gift unused shares and set up a legacy, which can do good and help lower your inheritance tax too). You can also use this fund if you are dual UK/US tax payer.
Stewardship is a giving account run by and for Christians. Very simple, just sign up in 5 minutes, then choose your charities and donate. Although the big charities are involved, there are thousands of small churches and Christian churches that would benefit from your donations, so give them donations. You again have the option here to remain anonymous, as you give.