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 Charitable Causes

  • Most people have donated to charity in the last year (64%).1
  • Most people report giving to charity from time-to-time (51%) or monthly (24%).1
  • The average monthly donation amount in 2018 was £45.1

Who Gives

  • Women are more likely than men to give to animal charities (31% vs. 20%) and children and young people (28% vs. 24%).1
  • Young people are more likely to give to physical and mental health care charities, shelters for the homeless and for refugees, and educational institutions, while the oldest age group are more likely to favour hospitals, disaster relief, and religious charities.1

Which Causes Do We Give To

  • Medical research (25%), animal welfare (26%), hospitals and hospices (20%) and children or young people (26%) were the most popular causes to donate money to in 2018.1
  • Religious organisations receive the largest share of donations by monetary value: 19%.1

How We Give

  • Most donors prefer cash donations: 53% of donors made a cash donation in past 12 months.1
    • Other popular methods of donation include: buying goods (38%), raffle/lottery (37%), direct debit (15%), online (19%), or fundraising event (22%).1

Organisations & Foundations

  • The top 300 independent foundations represent approximately 90% of all giving by value of the 10,000+ independent foundations in the UK.2
  • Grant spending by the top 300 foundations in 2017/2018 was £2.6 billion.2
  • Giving by family and personal foundations grew by 4%, while corporate foundation giving increased by 2.5%2
  • Income fell slightly in real terms to £3.7 billion, reflecting a combination of negative growth in investment income (-5.9%) and income from voluntary streams remaining virtually static, just beating inflation.2
  • Total Top 300 spending in 2017/18 was £4.2 billion. This includes £389 million, or 9.2%, allocated to foundations’ own direct policy, research or operating programmes.2

Volunteering

  • 36% of survey participants reported volunteering at least once in last 12 months.3
    • 22% of survey participants reported volunteering at least once per month in 2018-2019.3

Large Donations

  • There were 310 donations of £1m+ in 2016, a 5% decrease compared to 2015.4
  • Large donations (£1m+) totaled £1.83bn in 2016, the highest figure since the financial crisis of 2008-2009.4
  • The average size of a large donation (£1m+) was £5.9m in 2016, a slight increase compared to 2015 (£5.9m).4
  • The largest single donation was £80m in 2016.6
  • Large donations (£1m+) from foundations totaled £1bn in 2016, accounting for 55% of all £1m+ giving for the calendar year.4
  • Large donations (£1m+) from individuals totaled £313m in 2016, accounting for 17% of all £1m+ giving for the calendar year.4
  • Large donations (£1m+) from corporations totaled £512m in 2016, accounting for 28% of all £1m+ giving for the calendar year.4
  • Of the 310 large donations made in 2016, London accounted for 211 gifts, 60% of £1M+ giving.4
  • The breakdown of large gift giving (£1m+) in 2016 by sector:4
    • Foundations: £559m, 57 gifts
    • Higher Education: £656m, 71 gifts
    • Overseas (recipient was based outside of UK): £156m, 48 gifts
    • Arts, Culture & Humanities: £100m, 40 gifts
    • International (international development): £30m, 11 gifts
    • Human Services: £65m, 18 gifts
    • Health: £94m, 27 gifts
    • Public & Societal Benefit: £65m, 10 gifts
    • Religious: £47m, 6 gifts
    • Environment & Animals: £15m, 5 gifts
    • Education (non-university): £23m, 12 gifts
    • Unknown/Other: £17m, 5 gifts

London Giving

  • The value of London’s cash giving is an estimated £5.6 billion per year from all private sources.5
  • 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

Sources

1 Charities Aid Foundation UK Giving 2019
2 ACF Foundation Giving Trends 2019
3 Community Life Survey, England 2018-2019: Formal Volunteering Fact Sheet (PDF)
4 Coutts Million Pound Donors Report 2017
5 Report from Cass Business School, currently Bayes Business School 

Charitable Giving Statistics
About Individual and Family Philanthropy Options
  • Americans gave $410.02 billion in 2017. This reflects a 5.2% increase from 2016. [1]
  • Corporate giving in 2017 increased to $20.77 billion—an 8.0% increase from 2016. [1]
  • Foundation giving in 2017 increased to $66.90 billion—a 6.0% increase from 2016. [1]
  • In 2017, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $286.65 billion, or 70% of total giving; followed by foundations ($66.90 billion/16%), bequests ($35.70 billion/9%), and corporations ($20.77 billion/5%). [1]
  • In 2017, the majority of charitable dollars went to religion (31%), education (14%), human services (12%), grantmaking foundations (11%), and health (9%). [1]
  • Arts organizations experienced the largest giving increase in 2017, receiving 8.7% more than the previous year. [1]
  • Charitable giving accounted for 2.1% of gross domestic product in 2016. [1]
  • Historically, charitable giving rises about one-third as fast as the stock market. [2]
  • Approximately 91% of high net worth households give to charity. [3]
  • On average, high net worth donors gave $25,509 to charity in 2015. By comparison, general population households gave $2,520 on average. [3]
Charitable Organizations
  • In May 2015, there were approximately 1,521,052 charitable organizations in the United States. [4]
  • There are an estimated 316,532 congregations in the United States in May 2015. [4]
  • Sources of revenue for tax-exempt organizations in 2012 were program service revenues, including government contracts and fees (73%), contributions, gifts, & government grants (21%) and lastly, dues, special event income, rental income and net sales from goods (6%). [4]
Volunteering
  • Approximately 63 million Americans — 25 percent of the adult population — volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. [5]
  • The 2016 national value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour. In other words, Americans contribute $193 billion of their time to our communities. [5]
  • The top four national volunteer activities are food collection or distribution (24.2%), fundraising or selling items to raise money (23.9%), general labor or transportation (18.8%), and tutoring or teaching (17.9%). [6]
  • The top four volunteer areas are for religious (34.1%), educational (26%), social service (14.9%), and health (7.3%) organizations. [6]
Donor-Advised Funds
  • There were 284,965 donor-advised fund accounts in 2016. [7]
  • Donor-advised funds held $85.15 billion in assets in 2016. [7]
  • Annual contributions into donor-advised funds were $23.27 billion in 2016. [7]
  • Donors recommended grants from donor-advised funds totaling $15.75 billion to charities in 2016. [7]
  • Average donor-advised fund account size was $298,809 in 2016. [7]
Sources
  1. Giving USA 2018
  2. The Foundation Center
  3. The 2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy conducted in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy
  4. The Urban Institute
  5. Independent Sector
  6. The Corporation for National and Community Service
  7. National Philanthropic Trust – Donor Advised Fund Report 2017