Vicky is MD at Boilerhouse Communications and programme director for both the Better Connected Programme and the Connected Care Programme@vickysargent
This summer we summoned our courage and decided to de-clutter our empty nest. We were swamped by an ever rising tide of stuff accumulated not just by us but over four generations of our family.
Things carried from one family home to another because while having little monetary value they seem freighted with significance so that no one could quite face up to getting rid of them. Books mainly, but also children’s stuff, old sports kit and things few of us use these days, like a whole dinner service, coffee pots, tablecloths and bedspreads.
A web search quickly identified Oxfam as our answer, because unlike other high street charity outlets they take (and can, they told us, sell) books.
Over a period of three or four months I made a half a dozen trips to our local Oxfam shop. On my first visit, they signed me up to their digital ‘Tag Your Bag’ scheme that makes it easy for them to reclaim the tax on any donations by UK taxpayers. For every pound you give, or the charity raises from selling the stuff you donate they can claim a further 25% from HMRC.
Most of us are aware of this tax advantage when giving to charity but many of us don’t follow through because it can be a bit of a bother, the rewards seem small and in any case not “immediate” and so somehow unreal.
Tag Your Bag simply sweeps away all these reasons not to sign up to the programme.
A couple of months after my last trip to the Oxfam shop with the summer’s efforts all but forgotten (though still experiencing the euphoria of being de-cluttered) an email arrives from Oxfam Tag Your Bag:
Thank you for being a member of the Tag Your Bag scheme which makes everything you donate to Oxfam worth 25% more, thanks to Gift Aid. Under the scheme you agreed that we would contact you to let you know how much we have raised from the sale of your items.
I’m pleased to say that since you joined the scheme Oxfam has sold your item(s) for £144.54 and we can claim £36.14 in Gift Aid up to 30 September 2016. This gives a total of £180.68. If we sell more items after this date, you’ll receive a statement in around six months which will include a total of sales for the tax year 2016/17.
We are, of course, delighted by this digitally-enabled feedback. It makes our efforts to sort, box and deliver the items to Oxfam feel all the more worthwhile. It prompts us to put together a few more boxes And it prompts us to share our experience through social media and these pages. Feedback that we and Oxfam are sure will be digitally relayed to the benefit of all.
Occasionally the picture comes into focus, the smokescreen of words surrounding transformation, channel shift, digital inclusion and the rest clears and we can see the reasons for being digital and further off, beyond the quick and easy wins, to what can happen and why we should bother.