Giving Green Paper
On the 29th December 2010 the Cabinet Office published the Government's initial ideas for building a stronger culture of giving time and money. The ideas aim to start a national debate on our society's attitudes to giving.
The Giving Green Paper proposes a new role for government as a facilitator of giving, making it easier for philanthropists, volunteers and charities to form partnerships.
This paper sits alongside other recent reforms, such as those introduced by the Localism Bill. The Government believes that there are three key elements to their role in building the Big Society: empowering communities, opening up public services and encouraging social action, whereby people are encouraged to give what they have, be that their time, money, assets or knowledge and skills, to support good causes.
The Giving Green Paper focuses on what Government believes are the vital ingredients of social action - specifically, how they can increase levels of giving and mutual support in our society and catalyse a culture shift that makes social action a social norm.
Five elements have been identified to build and sustain momentum behind social action by changing social norms, these are:
1. Great opportunities - More exciting, enticing, flexible, and convenient opportunities for giving that go with the grain of people's lives.
2. Information - Better information so that people can easily find opportunities to give that are right for them.
3. Visibility - the Government plans to use its own network of websites to publicise its work with charities as well as normalising giving through social media platforms finding so people can see what their peers are giving, and how much they give
4. Exchange and reciprocity - Encourage people to give in new ways by making the benefits of giving more tangible and immediate - giving is not a one-way street but a mutually rewarding experience.
5. Support - Support communities, charities, and social enterprises to scale up good projects and take on new responsibilities; and to inspire and encourage businesses to be ambitious in their support for the Big Society.
Major policy proposals in the paper include:
• A £50million Community First Fund to invest in local savings schemes that pay out small grants well into the future in the most deprived areas. It will match contributions from local donors to encourage more giving.
• A £10million Volunteer Match Fund to double the benefit of private donations to voluntary projects.
• Harnessing Technology - working with mobile phone companies to encourage charitable phone applications. Also talking to banks about donations through ATMs and widening access for people to make small charitable donations when paying for goods by cards or filling in tax returns or applying for driving licences or passports.
• Encouraging a new focus reciprocal giving with ideas like setting up an eBay style online community where people can trade time, as well as replicating the ‘cost-free giving' model implemented by Everyclick and providing ‘micro-volunteering' opportunities via internet platforms like slivers.com
• A government review of the relationship between financial incentives and giving.
• Support to encourage charitable giving in schools.
Other proposed ideas include
• Using the peer-to-peer financing and lending model utilised by the likes of Zopa and Sponsume to encourage more lending and giving to community-based groups.
• Launching a four-year, £42.5m volunteering infrastructure programme to support organisations that manage volunteers.
• Using the honours system to better reward giving
• Exploring the idea of compelling trusts and foundations to make an annual payout
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:
"Big Society is about creating a country in which people are in control. People giving time, money, assets, skills and knowledge all drive social action and help make life better for all...We think government can also have a new role, bringing people together to find new ways to support charitable and voluntary action and highlighting the excellent work that is happening already."
The Green Paper is open for consultation and the Government is encouraging anyone who has views on how our society should support charitable giving to get in touch.
The findings of the consultation will feed into a White Paper that will be published in spring 2011.