Retired people are the most generous charity donors
Charity giving in the UK has nearly doubled over the past decade, according to the research by Halifax. Donations in the UK have risen by 95% in real terms over the past decade from £2bn in 2000/01 to £3.8bn in 2010/11.
UK donors give an average of £223 a year to charity and two in every three of those aged 65 and over gave to charity over the last month - more than any other age group. In contrast, just over a third of those aged between 18 and 34 engaged in charitable giving.
Giving cash to official collectors is the most popular way of giving to charity with more than two in every five people donating in this way.
However, while any donation is an important one for charities, cash does not benefit from the tax rewards of Gift Aid which currently accounts for 87% of the total tax repaid to charities, compared to just over a third (34%) in 2000/01. Basic rate tax is 20 per cent, so this means that if you give £10 using Gift Aid, it’s actually worth £12.50 to the charity.
Giving to charity in this way can also be tax-efficient for individuals. Higher-rate taxpayers who would rather give money to charity than the taxman should consider making a donation. When you make a donation through the Gift Aid scheme higher rate taxpayers can claim the difference between the basic and higher-rates of tax on your donation. For example, if you donate £100, the total value of your donation to the charity is £125 - so you can claim back £25 - if you pay tax at 40% and £37.50 - if you pay tax at 50%.
If you claim the age-related Personal Allowance or Married Couple's Allowance or tax credits, it's important to let HM Revenue & Customs know about any Gift Aid donations. They will subtract the amount you donate plus the basic rate tax from your total income and use the reduced figure to work out the value of your allowances or tax credits. This may have the effect of increasing these allowances or credits if your income was above the relevant "income limit" that applies.
There are also give-as-you-earn schemes available through some employers – but only a small proportion. They allow you to donate to charity before tax is deducted from your salary. This enables you to help charity by making donations net of basic-rate tax while charities reclaim the difference from the Revenue.
The number of people giving through a payroll scheme has risen by over a quarter over the past decade from 560,000 in 2000/01 to 720,000 in 2010/11, according to the Halifax study.
National health charities are most popular among UK donors with a third naming a national health charity such as Cancer Research, more than any of the other charity types. National children's charities including Save the Children also provided popular with around a quarter claiming they donate. In contrast, giving to international charities appears a little further down the list with just 1 in 10 giving to an international animal welfare charity and under a fifth donating to an international humanitarian charity.
Top tip: If you are the one fundraising, websites that enable you to collect are way of becoming more popular.
The Virgin Money Giving website is not-for-profit and charity fees are just enough to cover operating costs. Go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/
Saga Charitable Foundation - the Foundation commissions and carries out research into the lives of the over 50s, and it will also make grants and donations to support its wider objectives of benefiting the lives of Britain's 21 million people aged 50 and over.
Saga Charitable Trust - creating opportunities in developing countries.
Saga Respite for Carers Trust - the aim of the Trust is to give carers a break, by providing hundreds of free holidays a year for carers and their companions.