Guidance for Branches in the collection of Donations

Firstly, despite entering another national lockdown, please allow me to wish you a better 2021 where we will see the back of Coronavirus and, hopefully, we will get the opportunity to resume Branch meetings and open our RNA Clubs once again. 

At a Special Conference held on 21st December, Branch Delegates unanimously supported the Motion to reduce subscriptions to zero opening the door for our Association to shift to a donation-based income model.  This is undoubtedly a major decision, not without risk, and it is a very special day in our history.  The willingness of Shipmates to embrace significant change was not surprising but it was heartening.

The mechanics of how this will work is vital to the success of the organisation and depends on us being able to collect donations efficiently and easily.  As important is the use of Gift Aid which is free Government grant of 25% of all donations from UK taxpayers.  This is a key factor in the modelling and for a little bit of admin (filling out a form) it would make a significant difference to the running costs of the Association.  The new Standing Order donation form therefore includes a section on Gift Aid which I would encourage you to ask your Shipmates to complete and return to Central Office please.

While there is no pressure on anyone to donate a specific amount, it was my hope that Shipmates might be able to afford say £1/month as a Standing Order.  Over the year that works out at £2 less than the subscription was but of course with the Government’s contribution through Gift Aid that means that we would receive £15/year.  Clearly, we would be delighted and extremely grateful if shipmates felt that they could afford more but, as I said previously, that is entirely a personal decision.

Donations can be made by Shipmates in one of two ways, either:

  • Direct to Central Office.  A donation/Gift Aid form has been enclosed or shipmates can donate through the website.
  • Or, through your Branch as you would have previously done with subscriptions.  Standing Orders are encouraged.

For Secretaries and Treasurers, it will mean a slight amendment to admin procedures and details of how to achieve this on the new Database will be forwarded under separate cover along with the details on the management of the Database. 

For those branches that have completed the membership information requested last year we shall be sending out emails in batches to Branch Secretaries over the course of this week with the information we hold at Central Office on your members.  This will include a link and instructions on how to make any amendments required and submit any information on donations made via your branch to Central Office.  It will also include a form for the Gift Aid declaration which we realise will be difficult to complete under the current climate but would appreciate this doing once face to face contact can resume.  We will shortly also begin sending out the new membership cards to the Branches which have input their data.  Each member will have a new RNA number which will be useful for references in bank transactions.

Our Tax Specialist states that we have a legitimate right to claim Gift Aid and they have confirmed that, under the Income Tax Act 2007 section 416, any donations paid to the Branches as an intermediary for the Central Office (and the donations are passed on to the Central Office in their entirety) then the Central Office are able to claim the Gift Aid on these donations

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