Five savvy ways to give to charity

Published by Faith Glasgow on 16 November 2010.
Last updated on 17 November 2010

coin into savings

Charities have lost out financially in the aftermath of the financial crisis, with charitable giving down 11% on pre-recession levels, according to NCVO research.

Investors certainly failed to back Invest & Give, an investment fund run by John Husselbee of North Investment Partners, which donated 0.6% of the annual management charge to the Prince's Trust; the fund was wound up in August after just a year due to lack of support.

But there are several ways in which philanthropically minded investors can still make gifts to good causes and in some cases benefit from tax relief too.


If you have unwanted shares or fund holdings, you can give them to your chosen charity and receive income tax relief on their value. This effectively means you can deduct the value of the investments from your total income for the year in which you make the gift.

In addition, gifts of investments to charity are treated neither as a gain nor a loss, so there's no capital gains to pay.

If you want to claim tax relief, you'll need evidence of your donation for HM Revenue & Customs. To claim from HMRC you can complete a self-assessment form, or if you pay tax through PAYE write to your tax office to get your tax code adjusted.


Many people have small shareholdings that are effectively useless because they would cost more to sell than they're worth.

One option is to donate the shares, no matter how few, to the share donation charity ShareGift. They will be aggregated with those of other donors and sold, and the proceeds passed on to a range of UK charities.

Donors are welcome to suggest charities for nomination. Again, if you're a UK taxpayer you can claim income tax relief on their value. More information can be found at


Discount broker Clubfinance ( rebates to its clients 75% of all annual trail commission (typically 0.5%) it receives on funds held in its accounts.

Under the scheme, individuals who invest through Clubfinance (or switch existing funds from another broker) can opt to channel that money into a charity instead of their own coffers.

Clubfinance adds another 2.5% to the gift, so that, in effect, 77.5p out of every £1 of trail commission goes to charity.

Director Philip Rhoden says: "This means that on a £30,000 portfolio, more than £100 would go to charity each year."
The Clubfinance scheme supports three major UK charities – Marie Curie Cancer Care, Action for Children and the PDSA – and scheme members can choose to back any or all of them.

Unfortunately, says Rhoden, HMRC has not yet agreed to allow these gifts to qualify for Gift Aid (because commercial rebates are not themselves taxable).


The best-known charitable bonds are immunisation bonds, backed by various governments and used to fund immunisation programmes in some of the world's poorest regions.

Currently, none of these are on offer in the UK, but the East London bond, which channels funds into some of the most deprived areas of the UK, is a variation on the theme. Pledges are currently being sought for a second issue.

Charitable bonds are five-year, fixed-term investments. Your money is repaid in full at the end of the term, but the interest you might have earned in a bank account or other investment is, in effect, given to charity. 

On an investment of £1,000 into the East London bond, for example, around £200 goes straight to two East London community-oriented charities, while the rest is loaned at a commercial rate of interest to a social housing provider in the area.

Again, there is no Gift Aid available to investors because the interest accumulating on their investment is already exempt from tax. More details at


One of the easiest ways to support your favourite charities is with a legacy from your estate when you die. You can nominate the causes to be supported or make a gift to the Charities Aid Foundation ( in your will. Money given to charity on your death is exempt from inheritance tax.

This article was originally published in Money Observer - Moneywise's sister publication - in November 2010

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