Income generated by Gift Aid is an important source of financial support for the vital work charities deliver. At the moment, charities that wish to claim Gift Aid on proceeds from the sale of donated goods must write to the donor to inform them of the value of the items sold and to confirm that the money will be taken as a donation. The charity must then wait at least 21 days before treating the money as a donation for Gift Aid purposes. The current process is cumbersome to administer – charities have to send out thousands of letters a year – which costs thousands of punds in staff time and postage costs. This is a poor use of charitable resources. It may also damage the relationship between charities and donors who wonder why we are spending money on writing to them and repeatedly ask charities not to.
The current process for claiming Gift Aid on the sale of goods donated to charity shops urgently needs to be reformed to help charities carry out their vital work and encourage charitable giving. Members of the public that wish to Gift Aid donated goods should be allowed to make an enduring declaration for all their donations to charity shops, in the same way that they can make lasting declarations for regular cash donations. Members of the public wishing to make a one-off donation to a charity shop should also be able to Gift Aid their items there and then, without charities having to write to them to tell them how much the item was sold for.