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I've signed up - although as well as giving more than 1% of my gross income to charity, I also work as fundraiser for one, so I have a vested interest...
The 'best' way to give is to make a regular gift to a charity by Direct Debit (don't forget to tick the Gift Aid box!). This means the charity has an idea of what income it can expect, and plan its budget in advance, meaning the work it does is much more effective.
GAYE is great, especially if your employer which match your gift (don't forget to ask), although if you move jobs or they close the scheme, the gift stops.
Cheque/cash are fine, but more of your donation will go in admin, because someone has to be paid to count up all the cheques, put them on the database by hand and take them round the corner to the bank. And if you don't make a Gift Aid declaration (if you pay income tax, it means ticking a box and doesn't cost you anything - so why wouldn't you?!?) or give through a collection box, your charity won't be able to claim the extra 28% it could get back from the Treasury. If that doesn't seem very much, ask yourself how much more you could do with 28% extra income!Mike Stamp, 15 years ago.