Make the next one a children’s century

Whatever role you play within your company and whatever product you manufacture, the millennium is likely to have a big impact on you and your business. Industry is being asked to consider how it plans to mark this historic moment. Independent research has indicated that people want to be part of something that will make […]

Whatever role you play within your company and whatever product you manufacture, the millennium is likely to have a big impact on you and your business.

Industry is being asked to consider how it plans to mark this historic moment. Independent research has indicated that people want to be part of something that will make a difference as we move into the next century. This can seem daunting for a company thinking of setting up an initiative that meets these needs. However, one campaign has been designed to meet the needs of industry and the aim is to encourage as many employers and employees as possible to get involved.

The Children’s Promise is a unique charity fundraising campaign which aims to persuade every working adult to give the value of their final hour’s earnings in this millennium to help create a better future for the children of the next.

Research has shown that statistically, there could be a child in every street who is being abused, has run away from home, is excluded from school or suffers poverty. Just one hour’s earnings from every employee in the UK will enable the Children’s Promise to make a fundamental difference to these children’s lives.

Thousands of companies have already expressed an interest in the campaign, which has been launched by Marks & Spencer in partnership with The New Millennium Experience Company. It is part of the national programme of events and activities to mark the millennium and it already has the backing of Prime Minister Tony Blair and Sir Richard Greenbury, chairman of Marks & Spencer, who have both pledged their final hour’s earnings of 1999.

Seven of the UK’s leading charities who work with children have, for the first time, come together to back the campaign. The charities involved are: Barnardo’s; BBC Children in Need; ChildLine; The Children’s Society; Comic Relief; NCH Action For Children and the NSPCC. All funds raised will be shared equally between the seven.

A survey carried out by NOP and Audience Selection earlier this year revealed that over 63% of the UK’s workforce were willing to donate the value of their final hour’s earnings to charity. If this promise is fulfilled, the Children’s Promise will raise millions of pounds for children in this country and overseas.

We want to encourage companies to make it as easy as possible for their staff to donate through a payroll giving scheme. The Children’s Promise invites people to make a one-off, voluntary contribution from their pay. Setting up a scheme is easy. It shouldn’t cost you anything and it is simple to administer.

Payroll giving schemes are operated by 4,103 UK businesses. A large number of these are manufacturers and, in total, more than 370,000 employees regularly make charity donations via their payroll schemes.

Over the coming weeks, thousands of UK companies will be receiving literature about the Children’s Promise and we hope the campaign will become one of the largest payroll giving schemes to be set up in the UK.

The Children’s Promise offers individuals a simple, tax-efficient way to donate to charity. All companies need do is register their interest by filling in a form. They will then receive information about how they can become part of the campaign and how payroll giving can provide them with a simple, cost-effective millennium initiative.

Payroll giving is a good way of showing staff that their company cares about the community in which it operates. It can also be viewed as a benefit to staff because it provides them with an efficient way of making donations to charity.

Finally, it enables employees to make donations directly from their gross salary thus ensuring that the tax goes directly to the charity, rather than the Inland Revenue.

Internal promotion of payroll giving schemes increases employee take up considerably and once again, it emphasises the fact that their company has chosen to be part of something that will make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of children.

Businesses interested in receiving more information on the campaign should contact the Children’s Promise on 0870-607 1999. Ed Williams is Marks and Spencer’s Millennium Project manager.