5.8m donated through affinity accounts

The Building Societies Association has revealed 5.8m was donated to various causes through affinity accounts in 2005.

The figure comes from a survey conducted amongst BSA members, and is the first ever research into affinity accounts.

Primarily offered by building societies, affinity accounts allow people to automatically donate part of the interest on their accounts to sports clubs or good causes, making it easy to give to their chosen cause.

At the end of 2005 there were over 148,000 affinity savings accounts held with building societies, with total balances amounting to over 620m of which, on average, 1.0% is donated to the affinity.

Most accounts are sports related, with football being by far the most popular – nearly 83% of all affinity accounts are linked to football, with 1% linked to rugby.

A further 15% or 18,700 accounts are linked to non-sporting good causes such as hospices, wildlife funds, organisations for the homeless and cancer charities.

Building societies are predominantly regionally based rather than national organisations, allowing society members to choose to give to local charities.

Brian Morris, head of savings policy at the BSA, says: “It is no surprise that affinity accounts are growing in popularity and deposits have doubled over the last five years; they are an excellent way for people to give money to local sports clubs or causes on a regular basis.

“They are easy to set up and, in contrast to credit card affinity tie-ups, they promote saving rather than spending.

“They represent yet another way for building society members to contribute to charities as well as their local community, in addition to the significant contributions many societies already make through their independent charitable foundations.”