All Charity Retailers need to maximise their Gift Aid potential that is a given.
But what does Gift Aid mean in practice? The answer might not be obvious.
We can guide you through the complexities of the system, help you to understand the practical implications, and ensure your end-to-end process covers any potential points of failure. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy this vital source of revenue.
The Sign-Up Process
The first step in the Gift Aid process is to persuade your customers to sign up. Given that there’s no cost to doing so, getting this right is usually a simple matter of asking the question. Despite this, many customers still report that Gift Aid is not mentioned when they go to make a donation. According to our mystery-shopper surveys, the proportion of donations where Gift Aid is mentioned can be as low as 21%.
We can correct this in several ways. Introducing clear signposting and other material into your locations But the most effective change is to get your shop-floor staff into the habit of supporting your Gift Aid drive. If your team understands the power of Gift Aid, and its importance to your charity, they’ll know to bring it up as part of every transaction.
And this habit will need to be made up and down your supply chain. Whether it’s a donation drop off, a collection, or a customer making a call, every encounter is an opportunity to capture and verify donor information, ensuring that no claim fails because of inaccurate information.
If all this sounds like hard work, then don’t worry! There are a few ways we can simplify the process. Using digital sign-up technology can make the habit easier to make, and help embed the Gift Aid process into the way your culture operates, without making life complicated on the shop floor. But the most powerful tools when it comes to Gift Aid are the right procedures.
Processes and Procedures
A claim might fail for a number of reasons. By implementing the right procedures, we can minimise this likelihood.
At signup, new clients should be linked with a Unique Reference Number. Equally, the records of the donor will need to be up to date. We can ensure this by logging information regularly and securely.
Products should be priced with the appropriate Gift Aid number on the tag, and donations should be cross-checked and labelled with the appropriate donor information. This will save your staff from having to match products with donors later on!
Just as your in-store staff are trained to ask after Gift Aid, so too should your drivers be. By getting them to prompt donors during collections, we can push up overall adoption, and thus maximise the charity’s income. At the same time, collections should be labelled securely, just the same as products donated in-store.
Every year, our team uncovers irregularities within Gift Aid processes: not only in shops, but in central claims processing centres, too. Customer details might change, and where records are not updated to reflect these changes, failed claims can result.
These irregularities might easily lead to trouble with HMRC, but perhaps as importantly, they might inflict significant reputational damage. When you’re reliant on the goodwill of donors, you don’t want to be known as the charity which exploits Gift Aid!
We can provide an outside perspective on your approach to data hygiene. Our experience allows us to spot potential problems before they escalate, allowing you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re ahead of the curve.
HMRC requires that you notify your donors when you sell their donations. If you don’t record their contact information accurately as part of the process, you’ll be unable to meet this obligation. As such, you’ll want to ensure that your process includes this step.
How we can help
Our Customer Experience Mystery Shop can help determine why any given store is underperforming when it comes to Gift Aid. It’ll spot potential legal risks, and give you the actionable data you need to improve your Gift-Aid performance.
Similarly, we can carry out an independent audit of your Gift Aid processes and procedures. We’ll check that you’re meeting your HMRC requirements. At the same time, we’ll check that your staff are adequately trained, complying with their responsibilities, and that they feel comfortable asking your customers about Gift Aid.
Training and support are vital in bringing Gift Aid into your workplace culture. As an Accredited UK Training Provider, we can help. We provide both classroom-based and on-site training, which can help demystify Gift Aid for your team. Through a combination of learning checks and follow-up visits, we can then ensure the lessons learned are actually applied to the day-to-day running of the business.
It’s easy to be intimidated by all the rules and regulations associated with Gift Aid. If you’re a member of the Charity Retail Association, you can check their website for some helpful hints. But if you need help, then why not get in touch with us? We’ll point you in the right direction, with no obligation to take things further.
We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the amazing work carried out by the Charity Retail Association; not just at this difficult time, but day in and day out. Their leadership, guidance and support helps to bring to life the vision of a successful charity retail sector in the UK. As a corporate member, we’re incredibly proud to work alongside the Charity Retail Association as an advisory body and highly recommend all charity retailers to join this informative and knowledgeable community, which strives everyday to be The Voice of Charity Retail.
Get In Touch
Charity Retail Training & Support Services 78 York Street London W1H 1DP