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43% of top 100 fundraising charities saw income decrease in 2017/18

43% of top 100 fundraising charities saw income decrease in 2017/18

Almost half – 43% – of the top 100 fundraising charities in the UK experienced a drop in income during 2017/18, according to the latest Top 100 Fundraisers Spotlight.

The Charity Financials report, published by The Fundraiser, reveals that overall, voluntary fundraised income to the top 100 charities accounted for one-third of all voluntary donations at £5.9bn, increasing by 0.5% after adjusting for inflation and constituting the largest share of fundraising charities’ income in 2017/18, at just over half (51.3%). This is followed by £1.24bn from charitable activities and £0.96bn from statutory income.

The report also shows the top charities by fundraised income to be Cancer Research UK at £443.2m, followed by the British Heart Foundation at £295.9m and Sightsavers International at £291.8m. The top 10 fundraisers collectively raised £2,186.7m.

International causes received the most in both fundraising and total income, with a 29% share of all fundraised income at £1.7bn, followed by health charities at £1.6bn and welfare/special needs at £8bn.

Other findings include:

  • Total income reached £9.6 billion, maintaining its value with a slight above-inflation increase of 0.8%
  • Six of the top 10 charities experienced a fall in fundraising income after adjusting for inflation, including Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Oxfam GB
  • Legacy gifts providing 25.8% of voluntary fundraised income, with 2017/18 seeing a growth from £7m to £21m

The report also highlights that while the value of the top 100 fundraising charities’ total income has increased slightly over the last two years, since 2014/15 the annual growth rate has been on a downward trajectory, declining from 6.2% to 0.8% in 2017/18, after adjusting for inflation.

This is the fourth Top 100 Fundraisers report and was authored by Cathy Pharoah, Visiting Professor of Charity Funding and co-Director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy Research at Cass Business School. It can be downloaded from the Charity Financials site.


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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