The Charity Vouchers service started in 2002. It is run by Anglia Giving, a non-profit company (Limited by Guarantee) specifically set up to run the service, for the benefit of charities across the UK.
Charity Vouchers were originally conceived and publicised by us, back in the late 1980s under the name ‘Charity Gift Tokens’. The idea is very simple; Charity Vouchers let people buy, and then give, charitable donations as gifts which the recipients then donate to any charity of their choice.
Unlike the popular ‘give a goat’, ‘give some equipment’ or ‘adopt an animal’ promotions run by many large charities, a charity gift voucher has the great benefit of letting the recipient of the gift select a charity of their own choice. This means that you can give someone a charity voucher without any worry about choosing a charity that doesn’t suit or interest the recipient – on the contrary, it actively involves them in the donation and makes it a really rewarding gift.
Charity gift vouchers are a thoughtful and ‘green’ gift in that they generate little waste and don’t clutter our lives with trivial small gifts that may go unappreciated and unused and which take up valuable resources to manufacture, store and eventually dispose of. They’re also that bit different so you don’t have to give yet another bottle of wine, novelty item, scarf or box of chocolates!
And, of course, the point of Charity Vouchers is that they do raise valuable funds for charities, and not just the larger ones that can afford expensive advertising and marketing promotions. A Charity Voucher can be used to support major national charities or it can redeemed with the smallest, the most specialised or the most local charity… just as the recipient chooses.
Originally, customers could only order cards and vouchers for sending out by post. Then, a few years ago, we launched e-vouchers – a ‘virtual’ Charity Voucher and a perfect ‘green’ gift, because no cards, vouchers and envelopes are used. The image of a voucher is emailed to the buyer for forwarding on to friends or family, with the buyer’s own special message attached. The recipient simply clicks the link below the voucher image and then tells us which charity they would like to give to. Simple. Great for last-minute gifts too, because e-vouchers are usually with the recipient on the same day they are ordered, and often within an hour! Also, because we don’t have any printing or postage costs, our e-vouchers are cheaper to buy too.
In 2012 we also launched ‘print-your-own’ vouchers, which we email out to the buyer, who prints the voucher themselves; It all prints out on one side of a sheet of A4 paper which – with just two quick folds – becomes its own greetings card, ready to be handed over in person to the recipient. As fast as an e-voucher but offering something attractive and tangible to give as well. And, as with e-vouchers, because we don’t have the normal printing and postage costs, printable vouchers are cheaper to buy as well.
The company isn’t a charity itself. This is mainly because, in keeping with the original concept for the company, it doesn’t support any one, specific charitable cause. However, the company keeps the running costs of the service and administrative charges to a minimum, as any good charity does. In this way it aims to ensure that the maximum possible funds are able to be passed on to charities.
For example, from 2008 to 2014 we supported ‘Giving Nation’ in their work with school children across the UK as they, in turn, work with good causes in their own local areas, (click here for more information). In 2012 we also supported the Give More Initiative, working to promote giving in all its forms, right across the country. In 2014 and 2015 we donated Charity Vouchers in promotions in support of #GivingTuesday and will be doing so again this year.
Our company’s Directors give their time for free, and most of the day-to-day administration for the company has been done on a voluntary basis ever since the company was set up. This has been a key factor in helping Anglia Giving keep its costs to a minimum, whilst still providing a professional quality of service.
Anglia Giving is based in the quiet village of Burnham Thorpe in North Norfolk, best known as the birthplace of Lord Nelson. From here we deal with customers and charities right around the United Kingdom and, increasingly, around the world as well!