The Charities Aid Foundation distributed £646m to the sector in 2018/19, which is an increase of more than 25 per cent on the year before when it gave out £505m.
According to its trustees report for the year to April 2019, CAF was able to pay a record total in grants in spite of uncertainty in the UK and globally.
Donations made to CAF increased by only 2 per cent on the previous year to £620m.
Sir John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: “The scale and diversity of the giving that we have seen from people and companies over the past year has been truly remarkable.
“Given the uncertain times, the willingness to give is ever more striking and is a true vote of confidence in the power of charity to bring people together."
CAF's regular givers
Donations from CAF’s regular givers using a CAF Charity Account or CAF’s payroll giving scheme, CAF Give As You Earn (GAYE) contributed to £125m of grants to charities, up from £108m.
However, CAF GAYE raised £70.1m, down from £74.2m, and CAF’s online donation service, CAF Donate, processed more than £27m for charities, which was also slightly down on the year before.
Low said: “We are also very happy to see some of our innovative ways to help charities proving so popular with CAF Donate, our award winning CAF Investment Account and our services aimed at helping our charity partners build their own resilience in a challenging environment.”
Business and the US
Other notable amounts in CAF’s accounts include £92m from businesses enabled by CAF to give to charities in the UK, a 30 per cent rise on 2018.
The CAF American Donor Fund also rose 23 per cent to £86.9m.
Low said: “At CAF, we take great pride in helping to ensure those donations reach people across the UK and beyond.
“Without that incredible spirit of generosity reflected in the UK and around the world, and in the phenomenal record of CAF America in particular, all of that giving simply would not be possible.”
Donations to CAF America increased more than 85 per cent, “reflecting the huge growth of our work helping American donors make vital grants across the globe”, according to the report.
Sir James Leigh-Pemberton, chair of trustees at CAF, said in the foreword these successes come as the charitable sector faces “many headwinds: worries about trust; changes in fundraising; new regulation; pressure on national and local finances”.
CAF’s UK Giving report published earlier this year suggested falling levels of trust and fewer people giving to charity, although the overall estimate of donations was stable at £10bn.