Gift Aid envelopes are an excellent way of enhancing the value of cash or cheque collections by allowing tax to be reclaimed.
The Relief Chest scheme produces its own envelopes and supplies are available from the Festival Secretary. Most Masonic Halls hold a small stock.
Gift Aid Envelopes can be used in various ways, e.g.
Used as the lodge collection. Typically, the envelopes are placed on the table before the meeting, including those of visitors if desired. Unused envelopes can be collected afterwards.
At ‘White Table’ meetings, ladies, other Masonic and non-Masonic guests can make Gift Aid donations, as long as they are U.K. tax payers.
When used for lodge Collections, putting envelopes on the chairs in the Lodge Room prior to the meeting gives Brethren an opportunity to complete them in advance of their collection. However, to ensure that the envelopes are completed correctly, the Charity Steward should explain how this should be done beforehand.
It is good practice to have at least two members present, when the envelopes are opened. Although it is not always a requirement of the charity, it is sensible to write the value of the donation on the face of each envelope as it is emptied and check that the required details have been entered by the donor.
Once cash and cheque donations have been reconciled with the values written on the envelopes, the total amount can be banked and a cheque from the Lodge or Chapter raised in the name of the charity.
For most charities, it is unnecessary to compile a list of individual donors, although the Lodge or Chapter may wish to do this for its own records.
All that is required to comply with HMRC guidelines is for the Lodge or Chapter to complete a Donor Verification Schedule, which verifies the source of donations covered by a cheque, not drawn on the donors’ own accounts. Then the schedule, cheque and all of the Gift Aid Envelopes or tear-off slips, as appropriate, can be posted to the relief chest, 60 Queen Street, London.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND THESE TO PROVINCIAL OFFICE
Step-by-step instructions and the 2021 Festival Donor Verification Schedule are included in Appendix 10 of the festival manual. They illustrate the simplicity of the Gift Aid envelope system, which is common to most charities.