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Charitable giving and fundraising

Written by Gareth Munn

When you first receive the diagnosis that your child suffers from a disability, there is obviously a maelstrom of thoughts and emotions you go through, and questions you will have. Having been through this experience, and despite spending my days helping people with their finances in my role as a Wealth Manager, I can safely say that none of these were ‘how am I going to pay for this’.  However, the reality is that disabled children are expensive, in so many obvious and non-obvious ways.

Charitable giving and fundraising

The modern trend of ‘gofundme’ and ‘kickstarter’ pages for direct personal fundraising (vs raising for a registered/recognised charity) can often leave a slightly funny taste in people’s mouths – at least here in the UK.  However, the reality remains that in many cases there will be a one off, usually expensive, outlay required which could drastically improve a disabled child’s standard of living.  Often this expense simply cannot be met through a family’s normal income.  This could be an advanced piece of equipment like a motorised wheelchair, an intensive piece of therapy, adaptations to a house or in our case a surgery not readily available on the NHS.

Firstly, there are a lot of great charities that will be able to give out grants for pieces of equipment or therapy.  They are also available from the government in certain circumstances – I still haven’t found a great central resource to track these down, but a bit of time on Google can be your friend here.

Secondly, to avoid the awkwardness of a personal crowdfunding page, while still achieving the funding goal, there is an option where a charity can, in effect, be created in the name of a specific child but within a wider registered charity.  This means any fundraising activities and sponsorship events can be done in the name of that charity, Giftaid and other tax reliefs can be claimed and it adds a feel of legitimacy to any fundraising. Tree of Hope is one of the UK’s largest providers of these personal charities (others are available), and they’ll create a dedicated donation page for your child/goal, provide support with marketing/social media and even facilitate things like matched funding on your behalf.

Thirdly, there is also a lesser-known inheritance tax discount available, which reduces the tax rate down to 36% (from 40%) for anybody gifting 10%+ of their estate to registered charities – anything left via the route I’ve outlined above would qualify, as would any gifts to larger charities, perhaps focussed on finding a cure or providing long term care.

My last piece of advice would be to reach out to other people in a similar position via communities, such as ‘Groups’ on Facebook, as often as you can. Always keep your eyes and ears open, you never know what you might pick up.

Finally, from one parent to another – you are doing a great job.

Gareth Munn, Chartered FCSI

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