"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3.
This past Tuesday, 3 December, was the second annual ‘Giving Tuesday.’ Bill and Melinda Gates sent out an e-mail that describes the day and their involvement: ‘Giving Tuesday, the idea is to take one day out of your holiday shopping and dedicate it to giving back.’
The Giving Tuesday website lists lots of great organizations that need your support, and although Giving Tuesday falls on December 3, you can donate any time. Remarkably, the first campaign in 2012 demonstrated a spike in online giving of up to 53%. This year’s numbers are not in yet. Except for Charlotte.
Charlotte, a four year old in the UK, made her donation before Giving Tuesday. Like Bill and Melinda, Charlotte sent out an invitation to friends and family. But here’s the difference: Charlotte wanted to give on her birthday. She had never even heard of ‘Giving Tuesday.’ Charlotte invited her loved ones to come to her birthday party bringing not gifts for her, but donations to and her Mum’s favourite charity, charity: water .
How did she get so inspired to give to others? Charlotte watched a video with her mum, Claire. That’s how she started thinking about giving generously on her birthday to others. Together, mum and daughter made birthday party invitations with the request: ‘Instead of presents, please visit Charlotte’s charity’s page.’
Claire used give.net to set up a fundraising page and asked people to donate in her name in lieu of birthday presents to charity: water. How did it turn out?
Her friends, classmates and family loved the idea and donated almost £200. (She also got some small personal presents, like a mermaid cup.) Charlotte’s goal was £100. But the best bit: a little girl from her class brought an envelope with £10 in it to the party. Claire said to Charlotte, ‘Honey, you met your goal. Why don’t you keep this bit for yourself?’
‘No, mummy, those children need clean water. I want to help give it to them.’
How can you be like a generous child this season?
A resource: I have a friend who on Boxing Day-after the business, excesses, and joys of Christmas-sits down with his three children and plans what to give from a special Christmas present: stewardship vouchers. Each child gets a voucher and chooses to give the voucher to designated charity. Why? Part of understanding generosity is in being generous. How can your family give in a planned and thoughtful manner after Christmas? Here are some simple steps:
Order charity gift vouchers and pass on the gift of giving this Christmas...
To request your gift vouchers (available in £10s or £20s), gift cards and envelopes:
2. Click the Donate button and choose 'charity gift vouchers' from your recipient list
3. Enter the total amount
4. Enter your order details in the 'Reference' box (e.g. no. of vouchers & cards)
5. Orders will be posted to your account address within 2 working days.
Please order by 13th December to guarantee delivery before Christmas.
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photo used under Creative Commons Licence by Official U.S. Navy
Some GASDS banana skins when converting from charitable trust to CIO.
As churches and charities get accustomed to claiming top up payments under the new Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS), some banana skins are emerging where the church or charity converts from a charitable trust to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) or other form of incorporated charity, such as a charitable company limited by guarantee. At the time of writing, these banana skins are not apparent within HMRC Guidance and can only be found by studying the finer print of the Small Charitable Donations Act and the regulations supporting the Act.
The key traps to avoid are:
- Very specific and short time limits for applying for an HMRC certificate to enable the new charity to continue to claim under the GASDS;
- Getting the application for a certificate right, first time;
- Ensuring that the application conditions are fully complied with;
- Planning to maximise the GASDS claims in the tax year of the conversion.
Our new Briefing Note “Beware! GASDS banana skins when converting from charitable trust to CIO” is available from our website here.
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photo used under Creative Commons Licence by Richard North
Yes. It’s that time of the year again! The weeks (now months) during which we are bombarded by the media with images of the ‘perfect Christmas’. As we inevitably give in to pressure, we empty out our already light wallets. Personally, I’m trying to turn a blind eye to it all this Christmas. With our wedding coming up in April, I can’t really stretch to buying extravagant Christmas presents for anyone this time around.
But maybe I’m not the only one cutting back…
According to moneyfacts.co.uk, shoppers are planning to spend an average of £488 on Christmas this year. That’s 7% down on 2012's figure of £526, according to research from HSBC.
Are many of us feeling the pinch with this current economic climate? Are we tired of being sold the idea that in order to enjoy Christmas, we have to spend a bucket load of money? The inevitable result is that many get into debt, followed by the January blues and months of trying to pay it all back.
This weekend marks the significant time for retail in the U.S.A. ‘Black Friday’ as it’s known, is when shoppers go crazy over big reductions in stores across the country (‘Walmart massacres’ as described by my American colleague, Charlie). This is followed by a relatively new event called ‘Cyber Monday’ where the same applies for consumers at a range of online shopping sites. This shopping frenzy is known to bring many retailers ‘back into the black’ before the end of the year.
I must hold my hands up and say I’m guilty of having been quite extravagant with Christmas presents in the past (especially for my family), and with the UK seemingly adopting the Cyber Monday craze, it is tempting to spend. I really do get a buzz out of seeing a loved one unwrap something I’ve thoughtfully splashed out on and spent ages planning to get them.
However, do I need to repent of this form of generosity? Wouldn’t my money have gone further by being given to Salvation Army to help the homeless, or to Samaritan’s Purse for their Operation Christmas Child campaign? There are so many options out there to be generous in a different way.
On the flip side of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Giving Tuesday. This is a campaign in its second year, which advocates a national day of giving. People are encouraged give to support non-profit organisations and the United Nations Foundation is one of the major partners. In its first year, it is reported that some organisations processing donations in the U.S. saw the numbers rise by as much as 50% compared to the previous year.*
Jesus tells the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Does my sacrifice of generosity involve the revelation that my family and friends could probably live without that iTunes voucher or bottle of fancy perfume and that actually, would they be that bothered without it? And does it also involve the realisation that there is a real world out there full of people in need and crying out for someone to help them?
Could my generosity extend to those people instead? Instead of splashing out on presents, could I invite a struggling family for Christmas lunch? Could I volunteer in a soup kitchen for a couple of hours instead of spending five hours trawling the internet for deals on Cyber Monday?
In the end, as they say, actions speak louder than words. Maybe we could appreciate the loved ones in our lives all year round, without getting caught up in the tangled web of consumerism this Christmas.
In the end, it is what our Lord has told us to do.
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photo used under Creative Commons Licence by CJ Isherwood
Since September 2013, the Charity Commission has been opening statutory inquiries into charities that are late in filing their accounts for two or more years. There were three Christian charities named in the first twelve enquiries and a church PCC in the second list.
Not only is it a criminal offence to file a charity’s accounts late but the Commission regard it as a signal of mismanagement / misconduct in administration and governance, often associated with the misapplication or abuse of charitable funds.
Being subject to a very public Charity Commission inquiry can have a major negative impact, especially if the local press pick up on the matter. Therefore, charities should make sure that they have procedures in place to file your accounts on time. This includes making a timely start to gathering the information needed to prepare the accounts, as well as giving time for the drafting of the accounts and trustees report, for the independent examination or audit of those accounts and for dealing with any queries arising. Most charities accounts need to be filed with the Charity Commission within ten months of the charity’s financial year end.
If you would like to discuss any particular concerns with us, please contact Stephen Mathews, Head of our Independent Examinations Team on 020 8502 8588.
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photo used under Creative Commons Licence by Ken Teegardin
‘No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent…’
On Friday 15 November, Mr. Richard Pulga, 27, died — essentially of a broken leg. He was alone on an island. He lived in the Philippines.
Just a week before, his piece of the continent was ripped apart by the strongest typhoon in the world this year, and now thought to be the most powerful ever to hit land.
The inhabitants of the Philippines are no strangers to typhoons, in fact this was the 25th tropical storm to hit the islands this year, but this one was like no other and its designation as a ’super typhoon’ only hints at the catastrophic results of its visit. Super Typhoon Haiyan brought heavy torrential rains to 33 provinces in Visayas, Bicol and northern Mindanao. Meteorologists had predicted that it was capable of causing the greatest wind damage from a tropical storm endured by any place on Earth in the past century. Millions indeed fell victim to it. Mr. Pulga’s story is one of theirs and should be part of ours. His leg was shattered by a coconut which the storm-force winds hurled at him like a cannonball. The father of two small children was taken to a local hospital, Eastern Visayas Regional. He lay there for days. The New York Times reported the details of his treatment from interviews with doctors at the two hospitals, Eastern Visayas Regional and St. Paul’s. Left unattended at Eastern Visayas Regional, his transfer to St. Paul’s for emergency care came too late to save him.
By the time Dr. Rodel Flores, a surgeon with a team of visiting doctors, found Mr. Pulga on Thursday, he had received no antibiotics or antiseptic and his leg was badly infected. The doctor ordered an emergency amputation to try to save his life. But the surgery was too late, and death soon followed. “In short,” Dr. Flores said, “it was preventable.”
Richard Pulga died at St. Paul’s Hospital. His wife, Marycris, was told by a security guard that her husband’s body would have to be buried in a mass grave if she could not remove it. She had no vehicle in which to transport it and sobbed for more than an hour, refusing to make a decision.
Mr Pulga’s story, and that of his surviving wife and family, is one of so many deeply affecting stories. Others’ stories will sadly remain unknown to us, but not to God. Each story, known or unknown, serves to remind us that we are all connected through our faith and through our humanity and we can all stand together in prayer.
Pray for the Philippines; pray for relief efforts and doctors and nurses and people on the ground as they labour in extremely difficult circumstances; pray for the governments and the peoples of our world to understand that all our actions and choices affect others. Pray for Mr. Pulga’s family; for his wife and two children. Pray for those who are in desperate need that they will experience God in the midst of their sufferings.
…Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.’ John Donne
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Have you tried to submit an R68(i) Gift Aid form since 30 September 2013? Have you had your claim rejected? Are you wondering what to do next?
It is true that HMRC are no longer accepting form R68(i) as a valid way to claim Gift Aid and are now returning claims made in that way. However, don’t despair, there are other ways in which claims can now be submitted and our briefing note is a practical guide to help you decide what you need to do now.
We know that for many churches Gift Aid recovery is a vital part of their operational cash flow, and we would therefore urge you to read this note and to act as soon as possible.
Readers familiar with charity accounting will know that the format and content of a charity’s accounts is determined by law, and by the ‘Charities SORP’ (or, Statement of Recommended Practice) published by the Charity Commission.
The SORP has force of law for many charities. And it is about to change. The Charity Commission have just published a consultation document and an ‘Exposure Draft’ of the new SORP. The Consultation runs until Monday 4 November and the Charity Commission are very keen to hear from anyone involved in any way in charity accounts, but particularly from smaller charities.
Nigel Davies, who provides the Secretariat to the SORP Committee, has written this summary, especially for Stewardship. It sets out why a new SORP is necessary and what is changing. You are very much encouraged to read Nigel’s article and to have your say as part of the consultation! There is no need to respond to all of the consultation questions if you do not want to.
Readers may have read of the sudden suspension of the charity fundraising website charitygiving.co.uk on 12 July 2013, by the Charity Commission.
Dove Trust, the charity behind the website, has been under investigation by The Charity Commission for a while. The Commission had become concerned over poor financial management of their web portal.
Control of the charity was taken over by an Interim Manager, appointed by the Commission who discovered a financial black hole of upwards of £250,000. As a result the good causes, for whom members of the public have raised funds for in good faith, are unlikely to see all of the money that they were entitled to.
Current donors to the site were, in effect, financing settlement of liabilities to others, including the running costs of the charity. Dove Trust, for all intents and purposes, appears to be insolvent and the Charity Commission felt it necessary to suspend the charitygiving website in order to prevent further loss of charitable funds.
In contrast, Stewardship which as a charity, has been around since 1906 is financially very stable. Our last annual accounts declared gross income of over £54 million, net assets of £69 million and cash balances of over £42 million. As Stewardship provides an online fundraising platform in the shape of www.give.net, we have indicated to the Charity Commission’s Interim Manager that we are ready and willing to make our own systems available in order to help distribute the funds remaining in Dove Trust that were originally intended for the beneficiary charities.
Until the Charity Commission’s Interim Manager completes his work and the full story of charitygiving emerges, it is hard to draw conclusions or learning points from the situation. But, if there is one lesson that can be learned from the Dove Trust case now, it is that online giving websites cost significant sums to establish, maintain and operate. Very low cost, or free services may be here today and gone tomorrow!
We're happy to premiere our brand new video for give.net - explaining all you need to know about our free online fundraising service:
Start fundraising here: http://www.give.net/pages/for-fundraisers
Follow give.net on Twitter here: www.twitter.com/give
Find give.net on Facebook: www.facebook.com/give.net
On Saturday night, Daniel and I were invited to an exclusive charity event in central London.
I spent most of the day beforehand spouting about it to anyone who would listen.
“What charity is it?” they asked.
“charity: water,” I replied, expecting some eyebrows to rise. Perhaps a gasp or two.
Silence. Nothing. The majority of the people I spoke to had no idea who charity: water were. It was a stark reminder to me about how important my job is.
Here’s why I need to tell you about charity: water.
Right now, 800 million people on the planet don’t have access to clean and safe drinking water. That’s one in nine of us. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
charity: water is a non-profit organisation bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. They use 100% of public donations to directly fund sustainable water solutions in areas of greatest need.
But really, those figures are too much to grasp for many of us. We know that some parts of the world are in dire need, but 800 million is too great a number for us to comprehend. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve never done a six-hour roundtrip to a dirty swamp, just to carry a 40lb jerrycan full of dirty water back to your village; we just can’t imagine what that’s like. So charity: water put faces to the figures, and tell stories from the front-line. They help us to understand why we need to help them, so that they can help others.
Watch Rachel Beckwith's story, and be inspired:
If you’re a UK giver, and you’d like to make regular donations to charity: water tax-effectively and quickly, you can open up a giving account and start making gifts today
To make a one-off donation, visit www.give.net/charitywater
blogs by the Stewardship team and selected guest writers.