Charities Aid Foundation

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Charities Aid Foundation
Type Registered Charity
Founded UK, 1974[1]
Headquarters Kings Hill, Kent, UK
Area served Worldwide
Website CAFOnline.org

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a registered UK charity.[2] Its head office is located in the Kings Hill business park, West Malling, Kent with a second office in London on St Bride Street, EC4A 4AD. CAF provides services and assistance to UK and international charities and their donors, as well as promoting donation to charity generally.[3]

History[edit]

In 1924 the National Council of Social Service set up a Charities Department to encourage efficient giving to charity. This department was later renamed the Charities Aid Fund while the National Council of Social Service became the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). The Charities Aid Foundation took on its current name and form in 1974 when it was spun off from the NCVO as an independent organisation. Its projects include the CAF Venturesome, a high-risk investment fund, and Charity Bank, which became independent in 2002. It is a member of the Network of European Foundations for Innovative Cooperation (NEF).[4]

Activities[edit]

Services to charities[edit]

CAF offers many services to charities in the UK and abroad, including help with fund raising,[5] insurance,[6] consultancy,[7] and loans and grants[8]

As a registered charity it does not seek to provide a profit and aims to reinvest all funds generated back into the charitable sector.

CAF Bank[edit]

CAF owns and operates CAF Bank which offers banking services to UK charities. It aims to provide a better solution to charities than "high street banks" by tailoring services to charities' unique needs.

CAF Bank accounts give free day-to-day banking regardless of turnover or balance, and aims to keep charges to a minimum when they are needed.[9] This is different from some UK banks where charities are classed as businesses and have to pay to have an account.[10][11]

CAF Bank offers a variety of accounts[12] including CAF Cash, a current account; CAF Gold, a limited-withdrawal savings account; CAF Platinum, a high interest deposit account requiring notice to withdraw; and CAF Fixed Rate Selector, a fixed rate, fixed-term deposit account provided by Birmingham Midshires, a division of Bank of Scotland plc.

Customers can use online and telephone banking to monitor and use their accounts, however some requests require written instructions.[13]

A unique service offered is QuickPay which allows charities to make frequent payments to third parties. Unlike a Direct Debit, QuickPay allows the transfer of irregular amounts and is intended for paying staff salaries and making payments to suppliers quickly.[14]

A 2007 survey[15] showed that CAF bank accounts, specifically designed for smaller charities, give them better interest rates than are available to them in the major banks. Their rates have since fallen[16] following the recent financial crisis however the aim is to raise interest rates as soon as practicable.

CAF Bank Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (register number 204451) and is covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service.[17]

Services to corporate donors[edit]

CAF operates the Give As You Earn scheme. It advises companies on their charitable donations and assists them to donate in the most tax efficient manner.

CAF run a Company Advisory Service scheme from their London office which is used to make suggestions to companies about charitable work they can do in conjunction with their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and CCI (Corporate Community Investment) projects. CAF can recommend charities from the UK and internationally that best fit the aims of a company, as well as organising volunteering days for employees.

Services to individual donors[edit]

CAF operates a Charity Account scheme which allows account holders to donate to charities using vouchers, by phone and on-line. Donations are eligible for tax relief under the Gift Aid rules. Donations may be anonymous and, because payments can only be made to genuine registered charities, the account prevents account holders from accidentally donating to bogus charities.[18]

CAF also advises and assists individual donors who wish to set up trusts or to leave a charitable legacy through their will.

CAF conducts research and publishes reports on matters related to charitable donation. It also lobbies governments to encourage support and tax incentives for charities and charitable donation.

References[edit]

External links[edit]