Increase in number of donations worth over £1 million

Howard Lake | 16 November 2010 | News

Cover of the Coutts Million Pound Donors Report 2011 by Beth Breeze

The annual Coutts Million Pound Donor Report, published this week, reveals that the number of donations of £1 million or more is the highest in the three years that this data has been tracked.
According to the report, produced in association with the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, there were 201 such donations in 2008/09, up from 193 in 2006/7 and 189 in 2007/8. The value of these donations also increased, up £143 million from £1.405 billion in 2007/8 to £1.548 billion. However, this is still lower than the levels seen in 2006/07.
Over the past three years, the number of donations from individuals has remained consistent, with 100 donations compared to 96 in 2007/8; and 102 in 2006/7. There were fewer anonymous donations this year.
Higher education continues to be the preferred cause of million pound donors. For the first time, the collective value of donations to UK universities exceeds the sums placed into charitable foundations.
For the first time, the report also looks at the geographical spread of donations. Many major donors are based in London, but there is a strong showing for Scotland, the North East and the Midlands. The South East had fewer such donors especially in relation to the amount of wealth held by individuals living in that region.
The report has been written by Dr Beth Breeze of the University of Kent’s Centre for Philanthropy, Humanitarianism and Social Justice, and includes case studies of donors and recipients. It assesses the scale and impact of such gifts, analyses trends in major giving and presents case studies of both ‘million pound donors’ and ‘million pound recipients’, to provide insights into the experience of both giving and receiving gifts on this scale.
Maya Prabhu, Head of UK Philanthropy at Coutts, said: “Many of our clients are keen to give something back and create a social impact. We aim to provide them with opportunities to learn from experts and share experiences with other philanthropists on effective giving. This report reflects on topics that we know are important to them, such as ‘collaboration’ with other donors.”
Beth Breeze added: “Many positive conclusions can be drawn from this report as we appear to be living in an era that is increasingly aware of the presence and value of philanthropy. The signs appear to be good for ongoing positive trends toward a greater number of major donations and for the total value of million pound donations to increase.”