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Giving to River Church Restricted Funds

Over the last few years we have seen a large increase in gifts restricted to specific causes (eg. Passion / Cinema advertising, Tsunami). These gifts are in addition to established mission support from our main core budget (eg. Missionary work in China/Cambodia, Development work in India). In 2006 there was over £56k of this kind of giving.

We are keen to encourage River people to engage in this kind of additional giving but, when electing to receive and pass on these kind of gifts, we need to ensure that:-
  1. We are operating within our legal charitable objectives
  2. We act in accordance with The Inland Revenue’s strict rules governing when Gift Aid may or may not be reclaimed.
Consequently it has been agreed by the Trustees and Leadership that:-
  1. All causes to which gifts may be restricted must be approved (in advance) by Paul Wratten and Colin Barnes (as representatives of the Trustees and Leadership respectively. For potential new purposes you can approach Andrew and he will seek the necessary approvals from Colin and Paul.
  2. Donors are strongly encouraged to think ‘Ministry’ rather than ‘Individual’. There are only very limited circumstances where donations relating to personal support are Gift Aidable. Certainly with our own currently centrally supported missionaries any extra personal gifts from members of River would not be Gift Aidable. On the other hand gifts to support their ministries would be Gift Aidable. (Personal gifts could be passed on but without any Gift Aid).
  3. A key issue is whether the Trustees are given any discretion over the gift.
  4. If the Trustees (or Leadership in discussion with and on behalf of the Trustees) have established a particular fund for something they feel is important (eg. Tsunami relief) they have exercised their discretion ‘up front’ and gifts received into the fund are gift aidable.
  5. If someone approaches Trustees/Leadership and:
  • Makes it an absolute condition of making the gift that it must be used for the particular purpose stated, then the Inland Revenue is very clear that Gift Aid is not claimable. (eg. Someone comes along and says ‘This gift must be used for the purchase of a new computer’ or ‘This gift must be used to buy that missionary a new something or other’)
  • Makes the gift to River in the hope and expectation that the money will be used for the particular purpose requested then, providing the gift has not been disqualified from Gift Aid under [2] above, tax may be reclaimed. Here the Trustees have the final discretion and, in extremis, have the power to redirect the gift elsewhere. Of course, in approving the specific cause, the Trustees and Leadership would have already shown that it is one which River are generally happy to support. Nonetheless the final discretion in passing on the particular gift in question is critical to Gift Aid being reclaimable.  
6. Some of you will be aware that personal gifts to missionaries and Christian Workers may be passed on with Gift Aid via Stewardship (formerly Stewardship Services / UKET). This is because their Trust document was drawn up in 1906 and such wording would no longer be allowed (and is not in our Trust document). They are still able to operate legally under their old one and claim the Gift Aid. Therefore, if you know that the Christian Worker / Missionary you wish to support personally (rather than Ministry) is registered with Stewardship, then you may prefer to use that channel if you want the maximum financial benefit for the recipient.

This clarification of the position regarding restricted gifts is part of seeking to operate with transparency and integrity in all our financial affairs. If you have any questions we would be very pleased to discuss them with you.