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UK Charitable Giving Statistics

While the last couple of years has put a lot of strain on people just about everywhere, Britain has managed to preserve its humanity, with UK charitable giving statistics showing that more than half of the nation is still making donations. That’s why we prepared these essential stats and facts which will give you an overview of the UK’s charity sector and what Brits have been doing to help the less fortunate especially in these trying times.

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Top UK Charitable Giving Statistics—Highlights

General Pet Ownership Statistics

1. There are 169,779 registered charities in England and Wales.

The number of charities in the UK has seen a significant spike up from 168,000 in 2020—aligning with the general increase in charitable behaviour prompted by the pandemic breakout. The number has climbed back to its peak in 2007, which then plunged by almost eight thousand between 2008 and 2009 following the financial crisis in ‘08.


2. In the 2020/21 tax year, tax reliefs on charities and donors were reduced by £100 million.

Amid the pandemic-induced recession in 2020, the government also cut the tax relief on charities and donors, official charity giving statistics indicate. The relief amounted to £5.7 billion, with £4 billion granted directly to charities.


3. At 84%, British Heart Foundation is the UK’s most popular charity.

Founded in 1961, BHF funds over £100 million for research related to cardiovascular health annually. With over 500 charity shops, a calendar filled with online and in-person fundraising events, and a transparent and informative approach, the organisation is one of the most visible national brands, with 99% of surveyed knowing them. See how you can help here.

(YouGov, British Heart Foundation)

4. The top six of Britain’s favourite charities focus on health and wellbeing.

British Heart Foundation leads the pack with 84% popularity, UK charitable giving statistics demonstrate. Macmillan Cancer comes in second at 83%, followed by St. John Ambulance (82%), and Great Ormond Street Hospital and Samaritans both with 79%.


5. Age UK was the biggest fundraiser among those that launched emergency Covid-19 appeals at £8 million.

28 of the 50 largest charities in the UK ran emergency Covid-19 campaigns, raising more than £60 million by June. Age UK singlehandedly raised £8 million in new donations. Its worth noting that RSPCA also raised £1 million, so securing financial support from the public was not limited to pandemic relevancy.


6. 71% of digitally expert charity organisations reached meet their fundraising targets.

This compares to 42% of digital sceptics, charitable giving statistics show. Covid-19 escalated the digitalisation of charitable activities and the use of fundraising platforms drastically as traditional activities like cake sales or fun runs were cancelled. Blackbaud’s latest UK giving report shows that digitally mature organisations have done better than their digital-sceptic counterparts in every area, including gaining and retaining supporters, delivering services, and targeting new audiences.

(Blackbaud State of Fundraising Report 2021)

7. UK-based nonprofits reported a 35% increase in online revenue.

Online charitable giving statistics record an unprecedented growth in digital fundraising activities, with charity accounting software helping streamline the process. Sector-wise, the highest increase reported was in activities combatting hunger/poverty at 88%, followed by wildlife/animal welfare and health tied at 37%, and rights at 32%.

(M+R Benchmarks Study)

8. Parkrun Global Limited has the highest number of volunteers at over 279,000.

Initiated as a modest event with 13 runners in Pennington back in 2004, Parkrun has turned into a full-blown global community organising 3 and 5k runs every Saturday. Their events, promoting a healthier lifestyle and inclusiveness, boast over 279,000 volunteers across England and Wales alone. The runner-up is the Rhyl & District Musical Theatre Company with about 251,000 volunteers.

(Statista, Parkrun Global Limited)

9. 45% of donors prefer participating in virtual fundraising activities.

Despite jab rollouts and loosening restrictions, charity statistics for the UK show that the public is still reluctant about participating in in-person events—with 73% reporting concerns about taking part in mass participation events.


10. Glasgow is the UK’s most generous city.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of Glasgow residents’ cashback earnings go to charity on average. Glaswegians are closely followed by Manchester (72%), York (69%), Cardiff (63%), and Stoke-on-Trent (54%).

The country’s stingiest part happens to be a tourist hotspot — St Ives at 2.7% — followed by Luton 3.8%, Sunderland (4.4%), and Derby (6.3%).

(The National)

11. UK corporate foundations contribute about 6% of the total giving of foundations.

Corporate charitable giving statistics record a disparity between family foundation giving and corporate, with the former seeing exceptional growth in 2019/20. Corporate foundation giving on the other hand dropped by 12.2% during the same period.

(Pears Foundation)

12. At £1.8 billion, the British council has the highest income of any charity based in England and Wales.

British council, which is also a global corporation alongside a registered charity has the highest income by a large margin. It’s followed by Nuffield Health at £993,000, Lifearc at £992,000, and Lloyd’s Register foundation at £916,000.


Individual Charitable Giving Statistics

13. Donations during the holiday season 2020 were significantly lower than the previous year.

November and December typically see high numbers of monthly charity donations. Yet the Covid blow on purchasing power, economic uncertainty, and decreased fundraising activities curbed the festive giving amount. Only 30% donated to charity in November 2020 compared to 40% in the prior-year period.

(Charities Aid Foundation Report 2021)

14. The average charitable giving amounted to £27 per giver in 2020/21.

Charitable giving statistics show that though the number of people is declined after the pandemic breakout, the amount donated to charities has grown by £7 per giver. Remarkably, it’s the highest spike featured in the data going back to the 2013/14 period—in which the highest year-on-year increase remained £2 until 2020/2021.


15. There was a 12x year-on-year interest surge for foodbanks.

With combined factors like increased remote work, job losses, and schools closings, there’s been an increase in the number of people relying on food banks—which also translated into people searching for ways to support them. Other YoY surges in April included 6x for military, 5.6x for health and medical, and 2.3 times for animal charities.


16. About three in 10 people are regular givers.

UK charitable giving statistics record no significant changes in the frequency of giving in the aftermath of the pandemic — though the slight downward trend in the number of regular donations to charity causes continued. Across the regular givers (28%), 3% reported giving weekly and 25% giving monthly.

(Charities Aid Foundation Report 2021)

17. Between 2012 and 2019, donations from Britain’s top 1% fell by one-fifth.

By estimations, British charities have missed out on over £2 billion due to the widening generosity gap. While charitable giving statistics by income level record a significant drop in donations coming from the high-income bracket, giving from the rest of the population rose.

Over 340,000 top earners who received more than £175,000 before tax accounted for 17% of overall pre-tax income, but made up for only 6% of all charitable giving in the UK.

(The Guardian)

18. People over the age of 75 are the most likely to give to charity.

At 73%, senior citizens are the most likely age group to donate to a charity in the UK, though the trend fell from 84% in the 2019/20 period. Charitable giving by age statistics also note that by contrast, those aged between 16 to 24 are least likely to be donors at 50%—this demographic also comes across with the steepest decline in giving since 2013/14 from 74%.


19. Women are more likely to give to charity than men.

Charity spending breakdown in the UK reports that in 2021, 67 of women had given to charity, compared to 59% of men. Its also been noted that women are more likely to be regular givers at 32% vs 24% of men.

(Statista, Charities Aid Foundation Report 2021)

20. People who support a political party are more likely to engage in charitable behaviour.

Charitable giving statistics by political party further demonstrate that citizens feeling closest to the Green Party donate about 73% more of their annual income to UK charities, followed by Liberal Democrats at 48%. Then come Conservatives at 37%, and finally, the Labour Party at 32%.

(Understanding Society)

21. Seven out of 10 people have volunteered at one point in their lives.

The survey further found that those from lower socio-economic groups are less likely to have volunteered recently at 30%, compared to higher socio-economic groups (44%). A promising number of volunteers (90%) feel they make a difference to an individual’s life, and a further 80% are likely to continue over the next year.


22. UK Muslims gave an estimated £150 million in 2020.

Charitable giving by religion statistics demonstrate a record-breaking giving amount by the Muslim community in 2020 despite the pandemic. The biggest contributor to this is the month of Ramadan, which inherently motivates giving in the form of Zakat contribution. World Bank estimated that global Zakat contribution amounted between £152 billion and £762 billion, to compare, the annual income of the UK charity sector is about £50 billion.

(Charity Excellence)

23. Parish-giving to the Church of England slumped by £40 million.

Dioceses have recorded varying levels of donation—while some of them experienced almost a 20% drop, some remained hardly affected. The worst-hit dioceses include Durham, Leeds, Manchester, and Sheffield. Meanwhile, Bristol, Gloucester, Guildford, and Oxford remain among the ones that felt the least financial impact.

(Church Times)

International Charitable Giving Statistics

24. The UK Official Development Assistance decreased by 4.6% in 2020.

The government was forced to execute dramatic cost reductions in a variety of areas, and ODA was no exception—the expenditure amounted to £14,479 million with a reduction of £698 million from 2019. Region-wise, Africa remained the largest recipient at 51.8%, while Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Somalia topped the list of countries.


25. More than three billion people helped someone they didn’t know in 2020.

World charitable giving statistics demonstrate that globally, 31% of people engaged donated money in 2020, which is the highest number in the last five years. The survey further report that a record-breaking 55% of the global population helped a stranger out, while 19% volunteered.

(Charities Aid Foundation Global Giving Index 2021)

26. At 69%, Indonesia is the most generous country.

The top 10 generous countries shuffled dramatically in 2020. Indonesia is followed by Kenya (58%), Nigeria (52%), and Myanmar (51%). Charitable giving statistics by country further record Japan (12%), Portugal (20%), Belgium (21%), Italy (22%), and South Korea (22%) as the lowest-giving countries.

(Charities Aid Foundation Global Giving Index 2021)

27. Americans donated a whopping $471 billion in 2020.

Except for corporate giving, charitable behaviour, including individual giving and fundraising activities, has increased on the other side of the pond. The largest source is recorded to be coming from individuals, which amounted to $324 billion, making up for 69% of total giving. Corporate giving, on the other hand, fell by more than 6%.

(NP Trust)


As evidenced by these UK charitable giving statistics, the nation continues to do a lot for those in need. And while Covid-19 has impacted this field just like any other aspect of our lives, the sector has also managed to adapt to the ‘new normal’ to channel people’s goodwill to those who need it the most.

Sources: Statista, UK Gov, YouGov, British Heart Foundation, Demos, Blackbaud State of Fundraising Report 2021, M+R Benchmarks Study, Statista, Parkrun Global Limited, Enthuse, The National, Pears Foundation, Statista, Charities Aid Foundation Report 2021, Statista, Quantcast, The Guardian, Statista, Statista, Understanding Society, Nvco, Charity Excellence, Church Times, UK Gov, Charities Aid Foundation Global Giving Index 2021, NP Trust, How Charities Work, NP Trust


How many charities are there in the UK?

There are about 166,000 charities in the UK, with 132,000 in England. About 80% of all charities have an income of less than £100,000. Over the decade, 5,000 charities have been registered annually on average. (How Charities Work)

What percentage of the UK population donates to charity each year?

In 2020, about 62% of the UK population donated to charity or undertook sponsorship. The total donation amounted to £11.3 billion, up from £10.6 in 2019, charitable giving statistics show. (NP Trust)

Why do people give to charity in the UK?

Brits tend to donate to organisations supporting health-related causes. The top six most popular charities focus on health and wellbeing, including British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support, and St. John Ambulance. (YouGov)

What country gives the most to charity?

Indonesia was named as the most generous country by CAF World Giving Index with a score of 69. More than eight in every 10 Indonesians donated money in 2021, with the country’s volunteering average being more than three times the global average. (Charities Aid Foundation Global Giving Index 2021)

How much do people in the UK give to charity?

In 2021, the average monthly giving amounted to £27. UK charitable giving statistics note that though the number of people donating declined after the Covid-19 breakout, the amount donated has grown by £7. (Statista)

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