What is the Pennies from Heaven scheme?
Pennies from Heaven (PFH) is the UK’s largest micro giving scheme for employees and pensioners. The scheme has raised 400,000,000 pennies for over 265 charities.
Quite simply employees / pensioners sign up once and from then on every payslip is rounded down to the nearest pound with the pennies donated to charity. If net pay was £850.34 then 34p would be donated. Donation is between 0-99p every time you are paid.

What is the maximum an employee or pensioner could pledge under the Pennies from Heaven Scheme?
Theoretically the maximum is 99p, per month, totalling £11.88 during the year. The amount of pennies will clearly vary amongst all employees. On average 50p per month, the annual amount donated would become £6.00.

Who chooses which charity or charities receive the donations?
The employer in conjunction with the employees select whichever charity or panel of charities are wanted. Examples of choice vary from local to national, charity of the year, in house Foundation, Mayor’s Appeal. The Pennies from Heaven scheme is designed to be as flexible as possible and can even be ran at the local level.

How does it fit with Payroll Giving?
Perfectly and most employers running Pennies from Heaven also offer Payroll Giving demonstrating their distinct appeal. Why? Because employers want to make sure they offer all staff a way to donate through pay. Traditional Payroll Giving schemes provide individuals the choice of how much to give and to which charity and are more popular with people employed in more senior positions and those on higher salaries. Pennies from Heaven donations are less than a pound so appeal to everyone particularly part time or lower paid workers. Just because you earn less does not mean you care less, but you might not be able to afford or commit to the higher recommended regular payments of Payroll Giving schemes.

“We have over 50% of our employees donating the pennies from their salary every month through the Pennies from Heaven scheme. Those that want to donate more or be more specific about where their donation is going, sign up to Payroll Giving.” Debbie Lombard – Director of HR and OD, VocaLink.

Does the Pennies from Heaven scheme attract any tax benefit?
Donations made under the Pennies from Heaven Scheme can benefit from the Government Gift Aid Scheme. By simply confirming their agreement, as a taxpayer, participants will be able to increase the value of their gift by 25p for every £1.00 donated. The Government is keen to encourage more people to give to charity on a regular basis and this significantly enhances the amounts that can be raised, as the illustration in 5) shows.

How much could be collected under Gift Aid scheme if the employees were willing to participate?
Although the average gift is £6.00 per person during the year, where staff pay sufficient tax, the charity/ies can collect £7.68 per person.
Companies with staff numbers of:

  • 10,000 could pledge £60,000 but the Gift Aid Total becomes £75,000
  • 25,000 could pledge £150,000 but the Gift Aid Total becomes £187,500
  • 50,000 could pledge £300,000 but the Gift Aid Total becomes £375,000
  • 75,000 could pledge £450,000 but the Gift Aid Total becomes £562,000
  • 100,000 could pledge £600,000 but the Gift Aid Total becomes £750,000

(Please see question 4 for eligibility under the Gift Aid Scheme, to grow donations).
The scheme is available to pensioners in addition to employees.

Is it possible for the Employer to also donate funds to charity on a Matched Giving Basis?
Of course and by matching the donations made by staff employers can stimulate participation within the company. This can be achieved by matching the amounts paid by the employees, say 20p for every £1.00 donated under the scheme (or via a lesser amount.)

Will the payroll computer system need to be rewritten or significantly modified to accommodate this additional feature?
Most payroll systems utilised by UK employers have the capability to deduct payroll pennies as they already support the scheme. With over 260 employers running Pennies from Heaven we have great experience in setting up the scheme on payroll systems with the minimum of costs. When you join the scheme Pennies from Heaven will provide you with payroll software change guides where possible and liase with your payroll provider where necessary.

Can the scheme operate where some employees and pensioners subscribe and others decline, and can it accommodate leavers and joiners?
Yes. The system will be able to identify those employees and pensioners who have consented to this new deduction and those who have declined, in addition to new joiners and leavers.

How does Pennies from Heaven get remunerated?
In normal circumstances Pennies from Heaven will charge a fee to the employer for the services provided, thereby enabling 100% of the donated funds to go directly to the chosen charity. In circumstances, such as employers in the public sector, where payment of a fee is not practical Pennies from Heaven will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements.

What services do Pennies from Heaven provide?
Pennies from Heaven is here to make the set up and running of the scheme simple working with you at every stage. Some of the services provided by us include:

  • Access to PFH expertise in payroll modifications saving employers significant payroll change costs.
  • Provision of approved consent form artwork for the scheme as agreed by lawyers and HMRC for purpose of Gift Aid and fundraising compliance saving employers legal costs.
  • Charity Helpdesk and contact point for charities and HMRC.
  • Design of tailored marketing materials and best practice advice shared from all Pennies from Heaven members.
  • Access to online sign up via www.penniesfromheaven.co.uk for staff and pensioners.
  • Distribution of donations by Pennies from Heaven Distribution, a not for profit company limited by guarantee. This company is accordingly audited annually and avoids this for employers.
  • Provision of quarterly audit trails showing sums distributed.
  • Use of Pennies from Heaven HMRC agreed Gift Aid procedures including safeguarding gift aid declarations without which staff would have to rejoin the scheme when charities change.

How do I set it up in my Organisation?

  • Obtain a License – our short Agreement describes how the scheme works, the service provided by Pennies from Heaven and the action required from you to successfully run it.
  • Choose your charity – this can be any charity you wish.
  • Tell staff about it and invite them to join.
  • Flag participating employees once on payroll systems.
  • Collect all the pennies and send them to Pennies from Heaven once a month for distribution to charities.

As a charity how could we become one of the charities benefiting from Pennies from Heaven?
More and more charities are contacting us about this very subject! As all benefiting charities are chosen by the employers and their staff you can actively speak to your supporter base about running a scheme. Pennies from Heaven will be happy to provide you with tools and advice on how to do this.