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Record £9.5bn income raised by top 100 fundraising charities

Record £9.5bn income raised by top 100 fundraising charities

The top 100 fundraising charities achieved a record income of £9.5 billion in 2014/15, according to the Top 100 Fundraising Charities Spotlight from Charity Financials.

A handful of top charities continue to dominate the market. Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation remain the biggest fundraisers for their five successive year with fundraised incomes of £446.5m and £263.8m respectively. Macmillan Cancer Support takes third position, making a significant leap from 6th place, with a fundraised income of £214.1m: a result of its investment and growth in various fundraising streams in recent years.

Other noteworthy moves in the top ten are Sightsavers International, which climbed from 10th to 5th place, and Save the Children International, which climbed from 13th to 9th place as a result of joining up with international NGO Merlin.

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The report findings show that fundraising income to the top 100 charities grew by a real annual 8%, and total income by 7% comparing 2010 and 2015, despite an ‘unprecedentedly hostile charity environment’. This is the highest level for five years, with growth trends in fundraising income and non-voluntary income remaining in parallel. Fundraising also represents the largest part of the top 100 charities’ total income, at 54% of the total.

The report attributes this performance in part to donor loyalty but also to resilience in fundraising capacity as the charities have grown and re-balanced different income streams in a shifting environment.

The fastest growing charity was The Art Fund, which saw a 255% increase in fundraising income between 2010 and 2015 through steady expansion in membership, a large legacy and popular campaigns including Save the Wedgewood Collection.

Foundation and Friends of Kew was the second fastest grower, with an 80% increase, followed by ABF The Soldiers Charity with a 60% increase.

Cathy Pharoah, from the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, and author of the report said:

“These results show that even in a difficult environment charities with appealing and imaginative offers can win new support. Charities need to hold their nerve in the current hostile climate and focus on maintaining great relationships with loyal and committed donors.”

The fundraising growth was not achieved across the board however: over two-fifths of the top 100 charities fell below the average 15% overall income increase, while one-third saw negative growth and had a lower real fundraising income in 2015 than 2010, albeit sometimes with growth years in between.

The report also warns that the outlook is unclear, pointing to it still being early days for adapting to the new, stricter fundraising regulations, and to emerging uncertainty in the global economy.



Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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