Major newspapers raised less money for charities in Christmas appeals last year

27 Feb 2024 News

By Pasko Maksim / Adobe

Major newspapers that ran Christmas 2023 charity appeals have reported raising less money than they did the year before.

At £2.4m, the Evening Standard’s appeal with Comic Relief raised the most of any newspaper last year, but this compares to the £3.7m it raised in 2022 with sister title the Independent (which raised £150,000 in 2023).

Readers of the Times and the Sunday Times raised £2.03m for their three chosen charities in 2023, compared to £2.19m the year before.

The Guardian and Observer’s latest Christmas charity appeal raised over £1.42m, down from £1.56m in 2022.

Telegraph readers raised £527,000 for the newspaper’s four chosen charities, down from £726,000 the year before.

And the Daily Mirror’s charity Christmas appeal raised just over £5,000 in donations, around 5% of its previous total. 

Overall, these newspapers raised £6.35m for their Christmas 2023 appeals, down from more than £8m the year before.

Meanwhile, the Sun raised over £100,000 in donations for local baby banks.

Evening Standard raises £2.4m 

The Evening Standard worked with Comic Relief to fundraise for its Winter Survival Appeal 2023, which raised £2.4m after five weeks of campaigning and celebrity backing. 

The final week saw £200,000 generated in public donations. In January, the Standard said 20 charities and social enterprises had been given a share of the funding so far, with more to be announced. 

Popstar Rita Ora supported the campaign and met some charities involved, including people at a women’s refuge supported by Buttle UK. 

Meanwhile, the Independent's Christmas appeal for 2023 was in support of Leeds-based organisation Zarach, a bed-poverty charity which aims to help children that have to sleep on the floor or share beds with family members. 

Four weeks after the appeals launched, it raised more than £150,000 for the charity, which has gone towards providing 931 beds for children. 

The newspaper received high-value donations from Julia and Hans Rausing, Sainsbury’s, Comic Relief, Burberry, TK Maxx and more. 

For Christmas 2022, the Evening Standard’s and Independent raised £3.7m for its cost-of-living appeal, On the Breadline.  

Times readers raise over £2m

Readers of the Times and the Sunday Times raised £2.03m for its three chosen charities in 2023. 

Excluding Gift Aid contributions, some £292,610 was donated to Whizz Kids, a charity for young wheelchair users.

Feeding Britain received £289,880 in donations and international children’s charity Street Child raised the most at £331,490. 

All three charities received some form of match funding this year which led to donations being boosted by £840,000. 

This led to totals of £1.26m for Street Child, £398,633 for Whizz Kids and £374,657 for Feeding Britain. 

Readers helped raise more than £2.1m for last year’s Christmas appeal. 

Over £1m for refugee charities 

The Guardian and Observer’s charity appeal raised over £1.42m for three charities: Refugee Councils of Britain, Refugees at Home and the No Accommodation Network. 

Over 12,750 of its readers donated to the appeal, which was aimed at supporting asylum seekers.

It is the eighth consecutive year that the newspaper’s appeal has raised over £1m for its chosen charities. 

The donations will be shared equally between the three charities.  

Over £500,000 raised for four charities

Telegraph readers raised £527,401 for the newspaper’s four chosen charities in 2023. Its three-month festive campaign ended on 31 January this year. 

The money will be split between Marie Curie, Go Beyond, Race Against Dementia and the RAF Benevolent Fund. 

It had an annual charity phone-in day where readers could ring up to Telegraph columnists such as Richard Madeley, Allison Pearson and more. 

The Telegraph’s annual Christmas appeal started in its current format almost 40 years ago in 1986. 

Daily Mirror appeal raises almost £95,000 less than previous year

The Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror’s appeal for Young Lives vs Cancer raised £5,316 for the charity. 

Its Christmas appeal for 2022 raised almost £100,000 for the Warm Welcome project that aims to tackle fuel poverty. 

Rachel Kirby-Rider, CEO at Young Lives vs Cancer, told Civil Society: “As a charity, we rely on the kindness of supporters to continue to be there for children and young people with cancer and their families.

“Every pound donated by Mirror readers this Christmas will help make sure our social workers can be there from the moment families hear the devastating diagnosis to help with whatever they may need and that our Homes from Home can take away the stress of paying for accommodation and travel all while keeping families together.

“We want to thank the Mirror for partnering with Young Lives vs Cancer this Christmas, to raise awareness of the experiences children and young people with cancer and their families face. Being able to share their voices and be heard is so important to the families we support.”

The Sun’s clothes appeal 

The Sun's Christmas charity campaign, Cosy at Christmas, raised over £100,000 in donations and clothes for local baby banks. 

News UK said that the appeal meant 12,500 items from brands like Ikea and Amazon were donated and that Sainsbury's clothing brand Tu donated 3,000 pairs of pyjamas worth £20,000. 

The campaign was supported by the princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, who visited Sebby's Corner in North London to raise awareness. Celebrities Ashley Jensen, Charlene White and Christine Lampard also voiced their support for the appeal. 

In 2022, the newspaper raised funds for the Royal Voluntary Service as part of its Helping Hands at Christmas appeal. It did not publicly release its total. 

‘Economic climate has made things difficult’

A spokesperson for the Chartered Institute of Fundraising said: “Giving has slowed across the board.

“The current economic climate has made things difficult for charities – and our members have reported that the cost-of-living crisis has accelerated the gradual decline in smaller donations over the past couple of years. 

“It is our mission to grow giving, with research underway to explore how we can slow the decline in the number of people who give.

“We’ve found it is important to ensure donors feel engaged throughout the giving process.

“Awareness is a big motivator, so knowing how a gift has made a difference can go a long way in encouraging people to donate – whether they are new or returning donors.

“Additionally, considering the different channels people use to consume media may also complement traditional newspaper fundraising appeals going forward.”

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