Sector coalition call for movement on Gift Aid reform

23rd October 2009

On October 9, 2009 a group of third sector bodies including; the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, Institute of Fundraising, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Charity Finance Directors’ Group, Charities Aid Foundation, Charity Tax Group and Save the Children met with HM Treasury officials to continue discussions on Gift Aid reform and in particular the group’s proposals for a change to an “opt out” system.

Currently Gift Aid is an opt-in system - donors have to say they are eligible and willing to add Gift Aid to their donation. The coalition has been calling for this to be changed to an opt-out system, whereby donors are assumed to be eligible and willing to add Gift Aid to their donation unless they explicitly say otherwise.

Despite HM Treasury reassuring the group that the Government is committed to improving Gift Aid, officials gave no indicator at the meeting of the direction which reform is likely to take. The group have been working for some months on the feasibility of an “opt out” system, however the officials were unable to commit either way to the proposal, instead stating that they were “still considering a number of possible options” for reform.

The group have been working closely with HM Treasury and HMRC for two years to provide evidence on the need for change and the shape the sector believes the reform should take. This has included working with experts from a number of fields to assess the feasibility of various options. HM Treasury commissioned their own research with donors, this year, to explore structural changes to Gift Aid.

Following their meeting, the group have written to Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary HM Treasury, expressing their disappointment at the lack of progress that has been made on their proposals and requesting a meeting with him in person.

Stephen Bubb, Chief Executive, ACEVO said,

“It is disappointing that we are currently no clearer on the government’s plans for the reform of Gift Aid. We do however look forward to receiving the Treasury’s research on options for reform. The group will continue to lobby the minister for reform and work with the Treasury to ensure that reform is a priority commitment.”

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive, Institute of Fundraising said,

“The work on developing proposals for Gift Aid reform has seen an unprecedented move by the sector to work together and, while we are disappointed to not yet to have a response from Government, we hope that this work will see Treasury announce positive changes for the future of Gift Aid.”


Notes to editors

ACEVO(Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations is the professional body representing charity and not-for-profit sector chief executives in the UK, with over 2000 members. The broad not-for-profit sector now employs the full-time equivalent of 1.5m staff, with a collective annual turnover of £46bn. ACEVO is committed to improving third sector leadership skills worldwide.

The Institute of Fundraising’s ( mission is to support fundraisers, through leadership, representation, standards setting and education, to deliver excellent fundraising. Members are supported through training, networking, the dissemination of best practice and representation on issues that affect the fundraising environment. The Institute of Fundraising is the largest individual representative body in the voluntary sector with 5000 Individual members and 300 Organisational members

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England, with sister councils in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NCVO has over 7,300 members ranging from large national bodies to community groups, volunteer centres, and development agencies working at a local level. With over 280,000 staff and over 13 million volunteers working for our members, we represent and support almost half the voluntary sector workforce.

The Charity Finance Directors' Group ( was set up in 1987 and is an umbrella group that specialises in helping charities to manage their finance-related functions. CFDG’s circa 1,600 plus members are responsible for the finances of charities with a wide variety of income levels. Between them our members manage some £14.7 billion in charity income per year.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a charity set up to help other charities by working with donors, companies and charities to encourage and facilitate a culture of giving internationally. CAF offers products and services that make giving easier, tax efficient and help charities to make the most of donations through their banking and fundraising support services.

The Charity Tax Group (CTG) was set up in 1982 to make representations to Government on charity taxation. It has since become the leading voice for the sector on this issue and it is supported by a strong membership of 400 charities of all sizes, representing every type of charitable activity. It also has 25 'observer members': professional accountancy and law firms that deal regularly with tax issues for the sector.

Save the Children
Save the Children is the world's independent children's charity. We're outraged that millions of children are
still denied proper healthcare, food, education and protection. We're working flat out to get every child their
rights and we're determined to make further, faster changes. How many? How fast? It's up to you. For
further information about our work please visit


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