Help charity and yourself

Small businesses are being urged to initiate a payroll giving scheme that could earn them up to £500 through a Government grant and also consider an employee volunteering project that could help retain and motivate staff.

The Institute of Fundraising is urging small and medium-sized firms to take up the opportunity to get a Government grant to set up a payroll giving scheme before the grants programme expires at the end of 2006. Most of the almost two thousand that have already done so found that it took less than two hours to do so.

Payroll giving enables employees to donate to any UK charity straight from their gross salary, giving immediate tax relief. Furthermore, the Government will match the first £10 of each employee’s donation until March 2007. Businesses with fewer than 500 staff are eligible for a grant of up to £500 for signing up to the scheme before 31 December 2006.

‘Payroll Giving can be an ideal way for businesses with smaller budgets to generate a vital income stream for charities, because there are minimal administrative requirements and costs involved,’ believes Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising. ‘The grants programme is designed to enable SMEs to foster a culture of giving in the workplace, and with less than four months to go till end of the programme, now is the time to take action and set up a scheme.’

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If a more hands-on approach appeals, it’s worth investigating the concept of employee volunteering, which research has suggested will reduce staff sickies. A survey from CSV Make a Difference Day and Barclays shows nearly half of companies that allow staff time off to volunteer see a reduction in the number of sickness absences while one in six employees claimed to feel healthier after volunteering. Other findings:

  • 92 per cent of employees say that they would prefer to work for a company with an employee volunteering project than one that doesn’t
  • 90 per cent of employees feel that employee volunteering has improved staff morale
  • Around 59 per cent of employees feel volunteering makes them feel more energised and productive at work
  • 42 per cent say they are less likely to leave a job where there is an employee volunteering scheme

‘These figures reflect other research we have done which shows that 63 per cent of people who take part in the CSV Make a Difference Day campaign had not volunteered before, but have since gone on to volunteer again,’ explains CSV Make a Difference Day manager, Claire Ghoussoub. ‘Both of these pieces of research show that CSV Make a Difference Day is often the starting block to much wider community involvement in the future.’

Supporting young people with numeracy, career options or mentoring was the most popular volunteering option with environmental work a close second.

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