Tuesday, May 7, 2024

How to give over £500m to charity as a freelancer

If we're honest, most of us would say that we'd like to do more to support charities and good causes in giving to them - and if we're being even more honest, then most of us would also admit to this being increasingly difficult to do with rising bills. For those of us who are freelancers/self-employed, this is also compounded by additional 'downward pressures' in what we're able to earn too...

But each year, the second Wednesday of May is marked by "give a days wages to charity day" - an attempt to help us be able to justify the act which we know will make us feel good, and also do good, but often struggle to do for the reasons above.

I started to mark this annual day a few years back, by asking my contacts across social media who they'd nominate to be the recipient of my "days wage" that year - and I've stuck with the Buddy Bag Foundation every year since.

Now - as a freelancer, it's not that straightforward to work out what a typical days' wage is, as our earnings fluctuate over the year, and what we 'earn' in income also has to cover our business' costs, so its not directly equivalent to our 'wage'.

But thanks to Creator Rights Alliance, we can easily work out what our equivalent salary is, based on our typical day rate charge to clients:   https://www.creatorsrightsalliance.org/freelance-day-rate-guide-2023

However, I've gone with taking my gross earnings from last year's tax return as my baseline to work out a days' equivalent.

Now, if you're doing this exercise yourself, you're probably thinking that while it may momentarily spark a warm glow in you, you quickly realise that a gift of that amount isn't going to make that much difference... 

But it can!

I've done more sums using the average freelancer day rate (thanks YunoJuno!), worked out what this would be as an annualised salary, then divided that by the number of working days in a year to work out the average day's salary that a freelancer earns; and multiplied this up by the number of freelancers in the UK (thanks ipse!).

This comes out to £410,032,540.

And if we remember to tick the gift aid box when we gift it, that means the charities can claim an additional 25% of our donation (£102,508,135) - which brings the total that freelancers could be giving to charity to a whopping £512,540,675*.

But it only works if we all do it.

Which is why I'm being very un-British in this post, and sharing with you all how much I'm giving to charity (today, at least).

One day's equivalent salary isn't that much when you work it out - but it can be transformative in the life of someone who can be supported because we've given it. And if we all do it...  

* for comparison, the last Children In Need fundraiser in 2023 raised £33.5 million, and so far this year, Comic Relief has raised about £40 million.

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