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UK’s top 5,000 charities grow fundraising income by 91% over 10 years

The latest Charity Income Spotlight report from Charity Financials finds that the largest 5,000 charities in the UK grew their reported fundraising trading income by 91% over the past decade, from £2.5 billion in 2007-08 to £4.8 billion in 2016-17...

This substantial level of increase is much greater than several other income sources, such as voluntary income, investment income and charitable activity, which saw a 54%, 22% and 57% growth in income over the same period, respectively.

The report, which examines charity income using a combination of data supplied by the Charity Commission and from the Charity Financials database, finds that the top 5,000 charities collectively boosted their total income by 55% over the past decade to £50.6 billion in 2016-17.

These top organisations represent just 3% of the total sector population (which currently stands at over 167,000) but they generate more than two-thirds of the total income. The sector’s total income was £75 billion in 2016-17.

However, income growth has not been positive in all areas. The report shows that since 2014-15, reported government funding has fallen by more than £35 million, which suggests the sector is working hard to plug this gap with income from other sources.

The report also finds that some organisations are perhaps becoming less financially stable as the data finds that the sector collectively generated a £3 billion surplus in 2007-08, however, in last financial year, this fell to £0.5 billion.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Growth of the sector is primarily from the largest organisations (those with income exceeding £10 million), which increased their income by more than 10% in 2016-17
  • Growth of the charity sector has been slowing for the past five years, however, growth did increase this year for the first time since 2013-14 – but only by 0.1%
  • Even if growth falls by 1% a year, the sector would still increase its annual income to £94 billion by 2023
  • The biggest charities generate £1.7 billion annual surplus; but the sector as whole generated just £0.5 billion annual surplus
  • Small charities are on a knife edge, struggling to stay afloat into the next financial year

Charity Financials is the expert authority on charity financial data and has been tracking the financial performance of the top 5,000 charities in its Charity Income Spotlight report for five years. The Spotlight report series are free to download and aim to provide charities with sector-specific financial data to help them make better informed decisions. 

To download the full report, click here.


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