‘Slim’ income growth at top 100 fundraising charities, report finds

19 Mar 2018 News

The top 100 charities in the UK experienced a “slim real-terms growth margin” in fundraising income of just 0.7 per cent in 2017, according to a report published last week.

The Charity Financials Top 100 Fundraisers Spotlight report, published last week, showed that the top 100 fundraising charities in the UK managed to maintain a total income of £9.1bn in 2016/17. This represented a real-term growth margin of just 0.7 per cent on the previous year.

Of the £9.1bn total figure, £5.6bn came into top 100 charities from voluntary fundraised income, a figure 1 per cent higher than the previous year’s figure. Statutory funding to the top 100 fundraising charities fell by 1.7 per cent to just over £1bn, while income from charitable activities fell by 2 per cent to £1.1bn.

Growth will be difficult

The report, authored by Cathy Pharoah, co-director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy Research at Cass Business School, suggests that it will be “difficult” for the sector to continue to grow in the next few years.

It said that UK economic growth “predicted to slow down over the medium-term” due to Brexit and “recent allegations of poor practice in the sector receiving very high profile media attention” it will be “very difficult” for charities to achieve “measurable growth over the next few years”.

‘Fundraising under strain’

While Pharaoh says the report showed “the public is willing to maintain and increase its support for charities” they support and value, fundraising is “under strain” after years of untrammelled growth. The sector’s position is made more precarious by the fact that statutory income being made available to charities in the form of grants and contracts continues to fall, down by 1.9 per cent this year.

Low growth rate in terms of fundraising income, combined with a weakened economy means that the sector is now “almost returning to the negative position it held when UK GDP experienced an economic dip between 2011 and 2012”.

The report said “it is vital for charities not only to maintain but also to grow their relationships with the donating public, as government funding falls”. However, this is a “significant risk area” for charities given the sustained period of negative media stories.

CRUK remains largest charity

In terms of the largest charities in the UK based on fundraised income, Cancer Research UK remains the largest organisation raising over £436m in 2016/17. The British Heart Foundation is the nation’s second largest charity, with a fundraised income of £278m last year.

The biggest mover in terms of the top 10 was Sightsavers International, which is now the third largest fundraising organisation in the UK, having overtaken Macmillan Cancer Support. It raised £270.5m last year, moving it up from sixth to third.

Macmillan has dropped to fourth, having raised £233.7m last year, followed by Oxfam GB in fifth, with a total fundraised income of £211.3m.

A number of faith-based fundraising charities were amongst the fastest growing in 2016-17, with Tearfund and the International Bible Students Association both breaking into the top 40.

The Alzheimer’s Society also experienced large income growth in 2016/17, which the report puts down to help from “government-led and other awareness-raising and research initiatives”.

Top 10 charities by fundraising income 2016/17:

1 Cancer Research UK £463m
2 British Heart Foundation £278m
3 Sightsavers International £270.5m
4 Macmillan Cancer Support £233.7m
5 Oxfam £211.3m
6 RNLI £182m
7 Salvation Army £141.4m
8 British Red Cross £135.4m
9 RSPCA £121.4m
10 Save the Children £119.6m

The report can be downloaded for free here.

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