Maximising your money for your Charity or organisation

Read time: 6 mins        Added date: 20/05/2024

You work hard to raise funds for your charity or not-for-profit organisation, to help others. The more money you have, the more you can do to help. So it makes sense to do all you can to make the most of your money. In this guide you’ll find ideas on how to make extra money and where you can save more, too.

Discounts

An easy way to make the most of your money is to ask for discounts. Many retailers, service providers and trades people will offer discounts for charities and other not-for-profit groups and organisations. You just need to ask. This way, they’ll know you’re genuine. Some will be happy to donate things for free, such as a bakery donating cakes to your summer fete. Others may offer you a discount, for example a homeless shelter buying mattresses.

Be sure to have something that identifies you such as a branded name badge or business card. It's also worth reaching out to local businesses. Many have a separate ‘charitable fund’ that colleagues can use to support local charities or to buy products for them at cost price.

Cashback

Cashback can be a good way to produce a small but steady source of income. There are several charitable cashback websites out there. People who buy through these sites earn cashback for a charity or not-for profit organisation they pick. It doesn’t cost the buyer any more to do it this way. 

Some of these sites deal purely with the cashback. They send the buyer on to a retailer’s website to buy the product, then donate the cashback directly to the charity. 

In both cases, you’ll need to register your details. After this, you’ll get instructions on how to start earning. Share these details with all your volunteers, supporters, and contacts to earn cashback on the things they’d be buying anyway.

Gift Aid

One of the easiest ways to receive more money is to register for Gift Aid. It means you’ll collect an extra 25p on every pound that people donate to your charity. So you could boost your profits by up to 25%. You can even backdate your claim by up to four years.

What are the rules?

It’s important to understand what information you need and what records you must keep for this. You must be:

Do I need to register with the Charity Commission?

The rules on this differ between countries, so check the rules that apply to your organisation: 

Donations can only be claimed from individuals (not companies). They must have paid at least as much in Income Tax or Capital Gains tax that year as you want to claim in Gift Aid. They need to sign a Gift Aid declaration that gives you permission to claim it.

Be aware that you can’t claim on everything. Find further details on eligibility or claim Gift Aid online.

Tax relief 

As a charity you may be able to claim tax relief in certain circumstances. For example, you could qualify for lower VAT on fuel and power. This doesn’t apply to all charities, so check the HMRC site to see if yours qualifies.

If this does apply to your charity, you need to ask your utility provider for a VAT declaration form. They usually backdate this to when you first became eligible.

You may also qualify for lower or zero-rate VAT on some goods and services. The rules here depend on what you are buying, so it’s worth checking them out. The same HMRC page will show you what you can claim.

Do you import goods for charitable use? You may be able to claim relief to pay no Customs Duty or VAT. Check to see if you can claim and to find out more.

Business rate relief

You may be able to get a discount on your business rates for any premises you use. ‘Charitable rate relief’ gives you up to 80% off. You may even qualify for up to 100% off, through ‘discretionary relief’.

There are certain conditions you need to meet for this discount. Visit HMRC or your Local Authority to find out more.

Use your space - space for hire

Whether your premises are large or small, they could bring in some extra income for you.

If you have a little extra space:

If you have a spare desk or storage space, think about hiring these out to an individual or organisation. This can be an easy way to generate extra income for not too much effort. It’s important that you protect yourself in some way. So create a hire agreement or ask your contacts if they have one that you could amend. You may also want to check that your insurance and (if applicable) leasehold arrangements allow this.  

If you have more space:

To bring in some regular income, why not hire out your space to local clubs and groups? If you operate as a public building already, this should be straightforward. If not, there are certain rules and regulations you must follow. Think of fire safety rules, universal access and having the right insurance. It’s worth checking with your Local Authority if this is something you would like to do.

Other money-saving tips

On everything that you buy, make a conscious effort to shop around to find the best deal. Use price comparison sites for things like utilities and internet. Think about speaking to a specialist broker for insurance. Organisations like the Charities Buying Group can help get you a good deal on a range of products.

Be bold. Don’t be afraid of asking the question ‘is that the best price you can do?’. This applies to both goods and services. So next time your broadband or insurance is due, it’s worth asking if they can give you a better deal.

Focus on efficiency. While you need to spend within your means, some spending now could lead to long-term savings. For instance, you might want to become a paper-free office. Using technology to do this could save you time and effort. Charity Digital may be able to help with product guides and discounts on tech. Some software companies also have charity programmes or discount schemes.

Look at cost savings you could make in your premises.  Little changes like replacing your lighting can all add up. Why not think about installing a smart heating system?

Keep a close eye on your spending. Some regular expenses have initial periods when the prices are low, but after this, the cost increases. Set yourself reminders for when your contracts expire so that you can negotiate in advance.

Please note, some of the initiatives referenced above relate to having Registered Charitable status or recognised by HMRC so please check which applies to your organisation. If you’re not a registered charity already – investigating registering may provide additional benefits for your organisation. 

 

Manage your finances more effectively

Whether you’re a charity, community group or another kind of not-for-profit, here you’ll find guidance and support to help manage your banking more effectively.

Visit our hub page

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