Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Charity sector daily income rose to £206m in 2016-17

Charity sector daily income rose to £206m in 2016-17

The 2016-17 financial year saw the charity sector generate £206m a day: up £11m on the previous year, according to new figures from Charity Financials.

Charity Financial’s Charity Income Spotlight Report shows that daily income rose from £195 million in 2015-16 to £206m a day in 2016-17. Overall, total charity sector income reached £75.31 billion in the last financial year, up from £71.24 billion in 2015-16: an annual growth of 5.7%.

Inflation adjusted income growth has fallen by more than 2% since 2013-14 however, although according to Charity Financials, even if growth falls by 1% a year, the sector will still increase its annual income to £94 billion by 2023.

Growth of the sector is primarily from the largest organisations (those with income exceeding £10 million), which increased their income by more than 10% in 2016-17. The UK’s largest 1.3% of charities collectively generate nearly £55 billion annually and the remaining 98.7% generate just £20 billion.

The biggest charities also generated £1.7 billion annual surplus.

Largest charities by income:

  • The British Council is the UK’s only billion-pound charity. It increased its annual income by £97 million for the year ending March 2017 to £1,076.89bn.
  • Save the Children International is the second largest. It increased its income from £813.13m to £986.71m.
  • Nuffield Health takes third place, with an income of £839.6m.
  • Cancer Research UK is fourth largest, with an income of £679.2m.
  • In fifth place, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) also saw a notable increase with a £101.42m increase YoY to £604.747m, and donations and legacies received from donors exceeding £600 million for the first time.

Income by cause:

  • Health and medical charities generated the most income. They had an aggregate annual revenue of £6.6 billion which represents nearly 13% of all income generated by the sector.
  • Culture and heritage organisations also generated a significant share of the total income; they represent 12.8% of the sector’s total revenue with £6.5 billion annual income. This group increased income by £323 million, which is an annual 5.5% increase.
  • The next largest group is religious organisations, which had an aggregate income of £4.7 billion. This group only slightly increased income by 0.9%.
  • Government funding has fluctuated year-on-year and is now below that of 2014-15. Since 2014, reported government funding has fallen by more than £35 million although the report states that as some organisations class government funding into their other income streams, this might not be the full picture.

The report examines charity income using two data sources; the Charity Financials database, which focuses on the largest 5,000 charities in the UK based on their total income, total expenditure and total funds/net assets. This is supplemented with data supplied by the Charity Commission on every other charitable organisation that is registered in England and Wales.




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]
Sign up for free fundraising news by email. [Here's our privacy policy].
" />