By Matan TOLEDANO, Chief Executive of JNF.
The UK is a giving nation. More than 29 million Brits give to charity each year and it is estimated that the total giving is around £11 billion.
With Rosh Hashanah approaching, the time of the year for reflection, this desire to give is perhaps at its strongest. There are, of course, so many worthy causes and we, as a community, can be proud of a rich tradition of helping those in need. This year, like every year, we will be approached by Jewish charities reminding us of our key obligations. With so many significant causes it is often difficult to decide which charity to give to. However, you should first ask yourself if you are giving in the most effective way.
While it might be true that we are a giving nation, we are also a technology-focused one. The internet now plays an increasingly important role within our day-to-day lives. However, despite this, fewer than 10 percent of charity donations are made online. Cash donations remain the most common way of giving, with nearly 50 percent of donations still being made in this, arguably, increasingly out-dated fashion.
Astonishingly, less than half of donors use Gift Aid, a scheme that lets you claim tax back on donations. As a direct result, we as charity-givers are missing out on a unique opportunity to maximise our charitable funds and to impact further causes we care about.
Having spent many years of my career in senior finance management roles, I questioned whether there could be a better and more efficient way to give. A way that could make giving to charity not only easier, more streamlined and modern, but one that also could have financial benefits for both the donor and their chosen charities.
Have you ever wished that you could manage all your charity giving in one place? Have you ever sought the ability to donate and raise money online in the comfort of your home, and not worry about claiming Gift Aid?
In a response to address these issues, the traditional KKL Charity Account was completely modernised and SmartGiving was born.
SmartGiving is a revolutionary new online charitable giving and fundraising tool. Now, via our user-friendly and completely automated website, you can monitor all your charity activity in one place, very much like an online bank account but for charity. In addition, all the Gift Aid goes straight back into your account, giving you a little bit extra and the freedom of who to give to and when to give.
You can also fundraise with SmartGiving.
By creating a personalised fundraising page, you can invite your friends to support you as you embark on a personal challenge or sponsored event.
There’s something for everybody – givers, fundraisers and charities alike. SmartGiving offers a comprehensive portfolio of services. Employers can offer their employees a payroll giving service, ensuring more corporate responsibility, and small charities can use our platform to fundraise more effectively.
With a SmartGiving account, you can also increase your donation and strengthen your giving power as a higher rate taxpayer. For example, a £100 deposit into your account will result in a top up of £25 and an additional £25 refund in your pocket through our tax reclaim service. That means a donation of £100 to your favourite charity through SmartGiving, will only ‘cost you’ £60 – now there’s an offer you can’t refuse!
SmartGiving is a registered not-for-profit organisation; taking minimal fees to cover our costs. Surplus funds go toward supporting vital projects in Israel.
So this Rosh Hashanah, why not take the opportunity to optimise your giving, prepare in advance and begin the new year with peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that you are doing your bit for charity – only smarter?
I, alongside the team at SmartGiving and JNF UK, wish you a happy and healthy new year.
• To find out more about SmartGiving, please visit our website at www.smartgiving.org.uk or call the SmartGiving team on 0800 358 1191.