Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Coutts Million Pound Donors Report shows record high of £1.86bn donated in 2016

Coutts Million Pound Donors Report shows record high of £1.86bn donated in 2016

A record high of £1.86bn was donated in the UK in 2016, with the number of donations of £1m+ rising by two-thirds over the past decade, according to this year’s Coutts Million Pound Donors Report.

The 2017 Coutts Million Pound Donors Report shows a surge in corporate giving, with the total value of corporate donations rising from just under £50m in 2006/7 to over £500m in 2016 – an increase of over 900%. The total number of donations of £1m or more from corporations also rose, by 282% (from 17 in 2006/7 to 65 in 2016).

Foundations continued to be the main source of donations of £1m or more however, representing 55% of the overall value, while 28% came from corporations and 17% from individuals.

Overall, the total number of million pound-plus donations dipped slightly from 326 in 2015 to 310 but a higher average donation value of £5.9m (£5.4m in 2015) and a significant number of £25m+ gifts saw overall value remain high.

Higher education and foundations received the most, at 36% and 31% of the overall donation value respectively, while health received almost double its 2015 amount in 2016 at 27 donations with a combined value of £94m. Education also saw an uplift, receiving almost £23.5m compared to £16.8m in 2015.

The 2017 report also shows that London retains its position as the hub of major philanthropy in the UK. However, the biggest and most consistent rise in the total value of donations was in the North East, with this region as well as the East and West Midlands seeing their highest ever total values in 2016, along with Scotland.

The number of donations to UK-based charities from donors located outside the UK has increased since the report began – from 3 to 30. The total value of these donations has increased by over 2,500% – from £9.8m in 2006/7 to £263.5m in 2016.

Over the past decade, individuals, foundations and corporations have donated almost £15bn in large £1m+ gifts, in 2,416 gifts and distributed among 913 different charitable organisations.

The Coutts Million Pound Donors Report is produced in association with the University of Kent, Now in its 10th edition, it tracks the number, size, scale, and destination of £1m+ donations made by individuals, foundations and corporations in the UK.

Lenka Setkova, Executive Director, Coutts Institute, said:

“While mega-gifts (donations of £100m or more) tend to attract the headlines, £1m is the most common donation. Giving exactly one million appears to be economically and psychologically a significant figure, which resonates with both donors and charities. Our report also shows that universities received the highest number of donations of £1m or more (600), while foundations received the highest total value at £5bn. This reflects a trend we see at Coutts with an increasing number of clients using our philanthropy services to establish charitable trusts so that together with their family, they can make a difference to the causes they care about.”

Dr Beth Breeze from the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, and co-author of the UK report, added:

“We began this research project at a time when knowledge of million pound donations was mostly anecdotal. Ten years on we are proud to have created a strong base of knowledge and insight into major donation motivation, which I hope will inspire others to begin or accelerate their philanthropic journey.”

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

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.

Before you go…

Let us keep you up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy policy]
" />