UK Cabinet Office, May 2011
Earlier this year the UK Government released a White Paper called simply Giving. The motivation for the White Paper was twofold: first, the available evidence suggested a flat-lining of giving in the UK both in terms of time and money; second, a belief that government can stimulate a ‘step change’ in giving by making it easier and more compelling to give; and better supporting those organisations in need of increased funding so they are better able to source funds and utilise those funds effectively.
What measures are proposed in the White Paper to achieve an increase in giving in the UK?
First, new tax incentives and matching government funds for giving to specific programs. As the report notes, ‘while donors do not generally give to benefit from tax breaks, the right fiscal measures can incentivise greater and more sustained giving’ (p. 25). The 2011 UK Budget included a measure to reduce the rate of inheritance tax from 40% to 36% for estates leaving 10% or more to charity. The Budget Papers forecast an increase of £600 million over the lifetime of the Budget for this measure.
Providing matching government funds for private giving is another measure designed to support giving initiatives. An example cited is that of the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund which was established to assist Londoners exit poverty. The UK Government contributed £2 million in two tranches to match funding from other sources.
Another approach highlighted in the Giving White Paper to encouraging giving is for government to celebrate giving, undertaking information campaigns to support giving particularly in schools and for government itself to lead by example through ministers and the civil service giving time for causes. A number of school-based programs have been supported by government including Giving Nation and Go-Givers (programs involving school students volunteering time to work with community projects and to raise money for community programs). The UK Government is also supporting payroll giving programs.
A third major area of support described in the Giving White Paper involves government investing in community organisations so that they are in a better position to seek and support giving options. The White Paper also refers to initiatives surrounding the provision of government physical and web space to assist organisations.
To read the complete paper see The Giving White Paper.