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Top 100 charities' fundraising growth hit by 'harsh climate'

24 Mar 2017 News

Fundraising income for the UK's top 100 fundraising charities grew by just 2.3 per cent in the year to March 2016, “the lowest rate for six years”, according to a report.

The Top 100 Fundraising Charities Spotlight, published annually by Charity Financials, showed that the top 100 fundraising charities had total fundraising income of £5.4bn in the year. However it said the real terms growth was the slowest for six years.

The largest charities have continued to grow faster than the rest - a trend which has continued for several years. Median growth among the top 25 charities was 3.1 per cent. Among the bottom 25 charities it was just 1.4 per cent.

Animal charities and religious charities showed the fastest growth.

Cathy Pharoah, director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy Research at Cass Business School, and author of the report, said the slow overall growth showed that “the harsh climate for fundraising is taking a toll” on the fundraising sector.

Top 10 fundraising charities in 2015/16

The report showed that seven of the top ten fundraising charities in the UK held on to their “places in the table, in the same order” as they had done the year before.

Cancer Research UK was the largest charity in terms of fundraised income for the sixth year in a row since 2010/11. The British Heart Foundation was identified as being the second largest fundraising organisation, with Macmillan, Oxfam, RNLI, Sightsavers International and the British Red Cross all holding on to their places from the previous year.

Save the Children was identified as the eighth largest fundraising charity in the UK, rising one place from 2014/15, leapfrogging the Salvation Army Trust. NSPCC was the only charity to come from outside of the top 10 in 2014/15, having jumped one place.

Religious organisations dominate ‘UK’s fastest growing’ charities

According to the report, “faith-based charities dominated the fastest-growing” fundraising organisations in 2015/16, with The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain being identified as the fastest growing charity in the UK based on voluntary fundraised income.

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain grew its fundraised income by 69 per cent in real terms in 2015/16.

Religious organisation in general have showed “a steady growth in fundraising income over the 2010-2016 period,” which the report said may be “partly related to the causes they serve and, for example, the high media profile around international humanitarian needs generated from recent global conflicts”.

Future outlook

The report concluded that 2015/16 results showed “that pressures in the funding environment have indeed affected charity growth, and there is little to suggest htat this might change in the immediate future”.

However, charity income growth was closely linked to “World Bank estimates of UK growth of 2.2 per cent in 2015” which showed that charities faced a period of “constraint and challenge” as opposed to a “catastrophic collapse or cliff-edge”.  

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