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The top 100 Charity Index

Charity Insight Contributor
Published 18 May 2011

Each month Charity Insight explores the income and expenditure trends of the top 100 charities using information provided by the Charity Commission. This month we focus on voluntary income.

With statutory funding on the decline, income from voluntary sources is becoming increasingly important. In 2010, voluntary income totalled £4.3bn for the top 100 charities, which equates to 31 per cent of their overall income of £13.8bn.

The charity generating the most voluntary income is the Gavi Fund, an organisation whose mission is to save children's lives and protect people's health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries. However, this is not to say it is the most effective fundraiser - like BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, a relative newcomer, all its income is contributed from its parent organisation.

Charity Index

Instead, the accolade of most successful fundraiser is awarded to Cancer Research UK. Its overall annual income passed the £500m mark for the first time in 2010. Almost three-quarters of this comes from voluntary sources - the achievement of a fundraising strategy that, despite the difficult economic climate, saw new donors being recruited and current donors increasing the amount they gave. A single legacy of £10m also boosted its coffers.

The Disasters Emergency Committee also had a fruitful 2010. Its income, almost all of which is generated through public donations, reached £73.7m - three times as much as the previous year's income. In the main, this was the result of the Haiti earthquake appeal, which saw an outpouring of generosity from the British public.

Charity Index 2

Arts Council England ranks second in the index. The impact of its 29.6 per cent reduction in government funding was buffered by its lottery grant of £149m, a pot of money that will grow to £223m in 2014/15. This did little to help the arts organisations it supports which were subject to extensive cuts. According to the council, lottery money cannot be used to substitute grant-in-aid; among other things, it will be used to fund an £18m annual touring schedule and a £10.5m children's programme.

One charity making its final appearance in the top 100 is Becta (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency). Funded solely by the Department of Education, it was forced to wind up its operations after it was informed its £80m grant-in-aid would not continue past 31 March 2011.

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