Changes in Cross-Border Giving in Europe

from Civil Society Fundraising:

Continental drift: Changes in cross-border giving in Europe

The world did not have cross-border charitable giving in mind when it organised itself into separate nations. Charities, over the centuries, have been typically local or national although a relatively small number have always been truly international.  However, in recent years this has changed as both individual donors and civil society organisations have become so much more mobile in how they give and how they operate.

The amount of cross-border donations has increased. Correspondingly, so too have the frustrations of donors who naturally expect a tax benefit for their gifts.  For obvious reasons, governments have always been very reluctant, to say the least, to grant tax relief to a donor making a gift to a charity in another country. This reluctance affects not only lifetime cash gifts but legacies as well.

A temporary solution of sorts has developed over the years, in the use of an intermediary (such as ‘Friends of’ organisation) in country ‘A’ to receive the gift, issue the relevant tax receipt and convey the gift to the beneficiary in country ‘B’. The intermediary usually charges an administration fee for due diligence and other costs.  This, for example, is the solution of choice for gifts being made by US residents to foreign charities.  In Europe, a similar facility is offered by ‘Transnational Giving Europe’ (TGE), coordinated by the King Baudouin Foundation, in Brussels