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197 £1m or higher gifts made in 2012, worth 9% more than previous year

The number of major gifts of £1 million or more made to UK charities by UK donors in 2012 reached 197. They were worth a total of £1.35 billion, an increase of 9% on the previous year.
In 2010/11 232 donations of at least £1 million that were made by UK donors or to UK charities, worth £1.241 billion.
The growth was reported in the latest annual edition of Coutts Million Pound Donor Report, produced in association with the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent.
[quote align=”left” color=”#999999″]these biggest charitable gifts also have a hugely enriching impact on the lives of the donors[/quote]
Describing the total as a sign that”philanthropy in the UK is buoyant”, the report notes that this is the highest level of donations of a million pounds or more since since the financial crisis of 2008/09.
The Coutts Million Pound Donor Report has tracked nearly £9 billion of donations in the past six years.
Number of million pound donations by year

More than half £1m+ gifts are for £2m or more

This year’s report reveals that the proportion of larger major gifts has increased. More than half of all million pound gifts are now worth £2 million or more.
In previous years the most common seven-figure donation was for exactly £1 million.

Higher Education attracts most £1m donations

Universities and higher education institutions are the most popular recipients of million pound donations. Together they received £570 million in such gifts, 45% of the total.
Previous charitable foundations had received the largest share of such major gifts.
The top three sectors receiving million pound donations were:


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

Dr Beth Breeze, Director of the Centre for Philanthropy, and author of the recently published book ‘Richer Lives: why rich people give‘, said:

“Donations worth £1 million or more are extremely important for the charities that are lucky enough to receive them, especially in a climate of public sector spending cuts, decreased corporate giving and ordinary donors feeling the pinch. But these biggest charitable gifts also have a hugely enriching impact on the lives of the donors.
“The benefits that mega-givers say they receive include feelings of satisfaction at making good things happen, the enjoyment of meeting the interesting people they fund, a belief that their life is more meaningful as a result of their generous act, and pleasure at leaving a tangible legacy that will make their descendants proud.”

Expanding major gift research internationally

Coutts has this year expanded the research to include the USA, Russia, Middle East (Gulf Cooperation Council), China and Hong Kong in a new ‘Million Dollar Donors Report‘. Compiled in association with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, this looks at $1 million-plus giving by donors  in the six respective regions.
Mark Evans, Managing Director, Coutts Institute, said:

“Not only is it clear that individuals, foundations and corporates, who are giving at this level, are making a significant impact in areas such as higher education, it’s also an opportunity to learn why they are making these decisions and how. By understanding the causes and communities million dollar donors are passionate about, the ideas they have and the ways they like to work with others we hope to inspire and inform philanthropists, charities and others at all levels.”

Dr Breeze welcomed the expansion of the study. She said:

“The growing importance of philanthropy in countries all over the world needs to be accompanied by the growing availability of credible, useful data. This report makes a much-needed contribution to our global understanding of the frequency and the nature of transfers of private wealth in service of the public good.”

Both the Coutts Million Pound Donors Report and the Million Dollar Donors Report can be downloaded for free from Coutts.
[message_box title=”The Centre for Philanthropy” color=”blue”]The Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent was founded in 2008. It is one of the research centres of the University’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. It is an independent research centre dedicated to the study of philanthropic motivations, social patterns of giving, the distribution of donations and analyses of the impact of philanthropy and humanitarianism on social policy and political processes.[/message_box]