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Fundraising income sees lowest growth in six years, but still rising

Melanie May | 24 March 2017 | News

Fundraising income in the top 100 UK charities rose by 2.3% in 2015/16: less than half the growth rate seen in the previous year, and the lowest in six years.
Despite this, overall fundraising income was worth £5.4 billion: the highest level since 2010 in real terms, and remains the largest part of the income of the top fundraising charities, accounting for around three-fifths.
The figures are published in the Top 100 Fundraising Charities Spotlight report, published by Charity Financials and written by Cathy Pharoah from Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School. The report also shows that growth in total income fell, increasing by 2% compared to the previous year’s 5.4%, and again the lowest rate for six years.
Overall, the top 100 UK charities achieved a total income of £9.1 billion in 2015/16, with the top seven remaining in the same order as in the previous year despite some seeing a drop in income.

Top performing charities & causes

The top seven were Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support, Oxfam GB, RNLI, Sightsavers International and the British Red Cross Society. Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation remain unchallenged in the top two places that they have now held for the last six years.
Faith-based charities dominated the fastest growing fundraisers, with The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain the fastest-growing charity in voluntary fundraised income, with an increase of 69% in real terms for 2015, including income from cash and donations. Following it closely was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Great Britain whose voluntary income increased by 67% after a large grant from its parent company in Utah.
Animal causes also did well, with Guide Dogs moving up from 20 to 13th place, Cats Protection up from 41 to 33rd, and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home which went up from 60 to 48.

Income rise from charitable activities

Statutory income has increased much less than voluntary income over the past six years according to the report, and its growth rate fell again in 2015/16, while in contrast, charitable activities’ income growth rate rose. The National Trust increased member income by £18m, while CRUK expanded income from cancer research activities by around £7m, and the National Theatre grew the value of charitable activities by £3m in 2015.
According to the report, the results indicate that pressures in the funding environment have affected charity growth with little change expected in the immediate future.
However, it suggests that for charities that can manage to develop new fundraising techniques or messages that particularly resonate with the public, there is still potential to grow.
It states:


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“The evidence is of constraint and challenge, however, rather than catastrophic collapse or cliff-edge. This year’s results indicate that if charities continue to build on the existing strengths of their fundraising and supporter/ member bases, and to innovate, the public is likely to respond.”