Total combined fundraising income for the top 100 fundraising charities rose to £9.5bn in the year to March 2015, despite an “unprecedentedly hostile charity environment”, a new report shows.
The report, entitled Top 100 Fundraising Charities Spotlight, and published by Charity Financials, shows that despite claims of public dissatisfaction with charity fundraising, the top charities in the UK collectively raised £9.5bn - a record high.
While the figures cover a period before the recent media attacks on charity fundraising, beginning with the death of Bristol poppy seller Olive Cooke, the report points out that charities were already facing a hostile media and criticism in Parliament.
Not only was the combined total raised the highest it has ever been, the report also showed that income growth amongst the top 100 was at its highest level for five years, with fundraising income growing by a real annual 8 per cent, while total income grew by 7 per cent.
The Charity Financials data also shows that fundraising represented “the largest part of the top 100 charities' total income”, with funds raised representing some 54 per cent of the top 100’s total income.
The report said that these results “demonstrate major charities benefiting from the recent climate of improved economic growth and higher employment in the UK in 2015”.
It also said that, particularly in the top 10, there “has been remarkably little change in the position of the highest-earning charities over the last five years”.
Of the top 10 fundraising charities in 2014/15, nine were in the top 10 in 2010. Only Save the Children has managed to climb in from outside the top 10 in the last five years. STC’s “dramatic change in position” can be explained by its “joining up with international NGO Merlin”.
Cancer Research UK remains the largest fundraising charity, raising £446.5m in 2014/15, with the British Heart Foundation in second place with £263.8m. Macmillan Cancer Support came in third place, raising £214.1m.
Despite the encouraging results, the report is sceptical as to how long this “new peak” in charitable fundraising can be maintained.
“There are storm clouds on the horizon," it says. "The full fall-out from the recent high-profile exposure of the negative fundraising practices of some charities, and the criticisms of charity regulation to which this has led, may not yet have been felt.”