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CAF is one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations. We produce research on charities and charitable giving, develop policy ideas and work with people, companies and charities to help good causes thrive.

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More than £1 billion donated to charities through payroll giving

3 April 2017

Generous employees have donated more than £1.3 billion to charity direct from their pay through the UK’s first and largest payroll giving scheme.

The huge sum - donated over 30 years - is even greater than the £1.04 billion raised by Comic Relief over a similar period and would comfortably buy the entire squad of Manchester United - the most expensive in world football - twice over.

More than 220,000 people in the UK make a regular donation to charity through CAF Give As You Earn which was launched by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in April 1987.

The UK’s first and biggest payroll giving scheme enables people to make donations from their pre-tax salary and is now used by more than 2,700 employers across the UK including leading retailers, banks, financial services firms, media organisations and public sector bodies.

Analysis carried out to mark its 30th anniversary has revealed that:

  • £1,309,300,000 was donated through Give As You Earn between 1987 and 2016. Last year £74.3 million was donated.
  • The average monthly donation people give through their payroll is £20.57. 222,762 people are currently signed up to the scheme.
  • People support more than 22,000 different charities. The five currently most popular are Cancer Research UK, the NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer Support, BEN - Motor & Allied Trades Benevolent Fund and Friends at Work.

Because donations are taken from pre-tax income, part of the donation would otherwise have been paid in tax. For example, a £20 donation would cost a 20% taxpayer £16.

CAF, one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations, helped to pioneer payroll giving in the UK and worked closely with then Chancellor Nigel Lawson and Home Secretary Douglas Hurd to get it off the ground in 1987.

John Low, Chief Executive of CAF, said:

“We are an incredibly generous nation and it is fantastic that so many choose to donate some of their earnings to a good cause every month.

“CAF helped pioneer payroll giving in the UK and we are very proud that, 30 years on, it has now helped people to give well over £1 billion to charity.

“For people who regularly give, this can be a really convenient way to support a favourite cause which helps them to give more than they thought possible.

“CAF works with tens of thousands of charities and we get to see first hand what a critical difference these donations make. They can provide a lifeline to the vital work of charities which has a real and lasting impact on people’s lives.”

Through CAF Give As You Earn, employees can choose to donate to the same charity or charities each month, or they can pay into a CAF Charity Account where the money can be saved up to give to a good cause at a later date.


Among the 2,700 companies which offer staff the opportunity to donate through CAF Give As You Earn today are Asos, Burberry, HSBC, Jaguar Land Rover, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Thomson Reuters, Virgin Media and Volkswagen. It is offered by a significant number of public sector employers and several MPs also give to charity through their payroll.

Rachel Moseley, Senior Manager for Corporate Responsibility at Thomson Reuters, said:

"At Thomson Reuters, we believe we all have a shared responsibility to do business in ways that respect, protect and benefit our customers, employees, communities, suppliers and environment. Community Investment is a large part of our global Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion efforts. The payroll giving scheme enables our employees to give to the causes they are most passionate about. We have worked with the Charities Aid Foundation for 27 years to deliver this scheme to our employees in the UK making giving more efficient for both the charities and the individual donors."


Taylor Ashby, 21, a Delivery Resolutions Specialist for Asos, is one of the 220,000 people who use CAF Give As You Earn to donate to charity.

He gives £75 per month which he uses to support 14 cancer, hospice and children’s charities. Taylor said:

“In 2015 I lost my mum to cancer. From that moment I wanted to do everything I can so that other families would not have to go through the same thing. A lot of the support my mum received would not have been possible without the work of charities.

“Last year someone came into work to tell us about payroll giving. I started off by giving £25 per month and have recently upped it to £75, which I split between 14 cancer and hospice charities, including the hospice which cared for my mum.

“Because the money is taken directly from my pay I find that I don’t really miss it. But for the charities receiving it, it means a lot. I feel they can do more good with it than I can. I always used to give to charity by putting the odd £1 into a collection  every now and again. Signing up to payroll giving has helped me to give a lot more. It’s a really good feeling at the end of the year to see how much you’ve donated and think about what a difference that can make.”


Cancer Research UK is currently the most widely supported charity among people donating through CAF Give As You Earn.

Graham White, Director of Individual Giving at Cancer Research UK, said:

“At Cancer Research UK we rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to fund our work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“Payroll giving is a vital income stream and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who donates to us in this way. Because it’s regular and reliable, it allows us to plan ahead and commit to the very best research.

“Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of progress which has seen survival in the UK double in the last forty years. Our ambition is that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer by at least 10 years.”

More information about payroll giving can be found here

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