A new pot of cash to support residents in Bath and North East Somerset netted more than £25,000 in its first nine months, but tax relief could have added an extra £6,000.
The council’s community contribution fund launched in March but councillor Alastair Singleton said it was hampered by a lack of publicity.
He said some people were put off contributing because the donations were not eligible for Gift Aid, a government scheme that lets charities claim an extra 25p for every £1 donated.
The idea was borrowed from Westminster, where the fund is in its fourth year and has netted nearly £1.5million to date.
Locally, nearly two-thirds of the 300 donations were for between £5 and £50 but contributions of £1,000 and £2,000 were also received.
Some 29 applications have been received with a total funding request of £51,715 that will be assessed by councillors this month.
Councillor Singleton said there would have been more support if donations were eligible for Gift Aid but there were structural reasons why that was not possible.
“An awful lot of people I’ve spoken to claim to know nothing about it so it appears that perhaps the publicity of the initiative wasn’t as fulsome or effective as it could have been,” he told a scrutiny panel meeting on 10th January.
Chief finance officer Andy Rothery said there would be a setup cost for Gift Aid but that should not be seen as an obstacle.
The projects that applied for funding include supporting people’s mental health, providing emergency medical supplies, investing in refurbishments of community facilities, mentoring, support for families, training, group therapy and youth provision.
When the fund launched, the council said it would consult with residents and organisations after the first year on whether to continue the scheme in the future.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter