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Charitable Giving Statistics in the United Kingdom

NPT UK curates statistics from recent studies and reports on charitable giving and philanthropy in the UK. Please refer to the footnotes for original sources.


Donating to charity

  • The global philanthropy market is estimated to be £182 billion. (3)
  • People gave £11.3 billion to charity in the UK in 2020, up from £10.6 billion in 2019. (1)
  • 62% of people in the UK gave to charity via donation or sponsorship in 2020. (1)
  • The average monthly donation in the UK in 2021 was £49. (1)


Giving in the pandemic

  • 360 giving research reports that grant makers acted quickly to the pandemic – 42% of grants were awarded before June 2020. (7)
  • Many people funded charities in stages as funding needs developed, with the majority of charities receiving more than one grant and a quarter receiving three or more. (7)
  • At the height of the pandemic in 2020, it was reported that up to a fifth of people in the UK were giving to charities that supported the NHS or were linked to healthcare. (8)
  • Despite the pandemic creating or increasing financial worries, which led to 1 in 10 people donating less than usual, 1 in 4 people have said they would now increase their donations to charity. (9)


Who gives?

  • People aged over 65 are more likely to engage in charitable activities (65% donate money to charity) although around half the adult population across other age ranges also donate (49% of 16-24 years; 53% of 25 – 44 years; and 59% of 45 – 64 years). (1)
  • 90% of women reported taking part in at least one charitable activity in 2019/2020 compared with 83% of men. (1)


Which causes?

  • Animal welfare is the most popular with 27% of donors giving to this cause in the UK, followed by support for children or young people (24%) and medical research (22%). (1)
  • Women are more likely than men to support animal welfare charities (32% vs 21%), children or young people (25% vs 21%) and the arts (4% vs 3%). In contrast, men are more likely than women to support medical research (25% vs 20%), religious causes (13% vs 11%) and schools, colleges and education (5% vs 3%). (1)
  • A new trend emerging in 2020 was the increased likelihood of those aged 65+ to donate to overseas aid and disaster relief in comparison to younger donors; a fifth (20%) of those aged 65+ gave to these causes compared with 15% of those aged 64 or younger. (1)
  • Younger donors are more likely than older to donate to charities supporting physical or mental healthcare; 20% of 16-24s. (1)
  • Nearly £1 in every £5 donated in the UK goes to religious organisations. (1)


How we give?

  • 62% of people who gave money in 2020 did so via donation or sponsorship. (1)
  • Cash giving was much lower than usual during the whole of 2020, and the trend has continued into 2021. (1)
  • Donations made via contact-free or digital methods increased substantially during the pandemic. (1)
  • The proportion of people being asked to donate online had already been steadily increasing over the past few years, but in 2020 it jumped to 30% from 24% in 2019. (1)
  • Across 2020, around three in 10 (28%) people were regular givers, with 3% giving weekly and 25% giving monthly. Half (51%) of adults reported giving from time to time whilst one in seven (14%) give rarely. (1)
  • Three in 10 people are regular givers. Women are more likely than men to give regularly. (1)
  • Fewer people volunteered than usual in 2020, but levels have remained relatively low during 2021 even as restrictions have lifted. (1)


London Giving

  • People in London are more likely to have given to causes supporting homeless people, housing and refuge shelters (25% vs 19% UK average). (1)
  • An estimated £2.01 billion is donated by Independent Trusts & Foundations in London per year. (5)
  • An estimated £2.0 billion is donated by individuals in London per year. (5)


Organisations and foundations

  • Giving by family and personal foundations grew by 0.9%, while corporate foundation giving increased by 12.5% in 2020. (2)
  • Top ranking foundations made £3.45 billion in overall grants during 2018/2019. (2)
  • Giving by the Top 50 corporate foundations reached £230 million in 2018/2019, a growth of 12.5%. (2)


Large donations

  • Since 2016, 20% of millionaires based in Britain donate more than 1% of their wealth away annually. (4)
  • The largest single donation was £80m in 2016. (5)
  • Large donations (£1m+) from foundations totaled £1bn in 2016, accounting for 55% of all £1m+ giving for the calendar year. (5)
  • The sum of the largest donation from an individual or family in 2020/2021 totals at £4.2 Million. (10)
  • A total of £4.305 billion has been gifted over the past 12 months in 2021/2020 from the top 1%. (10)
  • There has been a 36.1% rise on the £3.164 billion donated in 2020 by the top 1%. (10)
  • Large donations (£1m+) from corporations totaled £512m in 2016, accounting for 28% of all £1m+ giving for the calendar year. (5)



1. Charities Aid Foundation UK Giving Report
2. ACF Foundation Giving Trends Update 2020.pdf
3. Barclays – Philanthropy Outlook: Reflections on 2021 and a look ahead to 2022
4. The Voice for Philanthropy | Beacon Collaborative |
5. Coutts Million Pound Donors Report 2017
6. Report from Cass Business School, currently Bayes Business School
7. 360 Giving
8. UK Giving and Covid-19 Special Report
9. The impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the charitable sector, and its prospects for recovery.
1o. The Sunday Times Giving List 2021