Charity Management

1m+ donations highest level in five years

11 December 2012

The annual Coutts Million Pound Donor Report, produced in association with the University of Kent, shows that there has been an increase in the amount of million pound donations. Higher Education, Arts and Culture and International Development remain the most popular destinations but support for environmental causes is on the up.  

The report has found a record total of 232 separate ‘million pound or more’ philanthropic donations made by individuals, trusts and corporations in the UK during 20010/11

The amount donated via million pound donors is the largest total identified by the report in any one year since the study began in 2008, up by 58 donations compared to last year. There has also been a big increase in the number of million pound donors, with 130 different donors identified; up from 73 the previous year (this includes individuals, charitable trusts, foundations and corporations, some of whom made more than one donation worth £1m or more).

Living individuals continue to be the most significant source of the largest donations. More than half of the million pound donations made in 2010/11 were donated by 93 individual donors, with a total value of £763m.

However, the total value of these donations was £1.241bn. This is down from £1.312bn in last year’s report, which covered donations made in 2009/10.

The Coutts report also finds that despite the fall in the overall value of ‘million pound donations’, the amount that went directly to charities rather than being ‘banked’ in foundations, increased from £631m to £747m indicating a shift towards getting funds out onto the ‘front line’ to charities, many of which are struggling to raise funds from other sources.

Higher Education, Arts and Culture and International Development remain the most popular destinations for the largest gifts amongst both individual and institutional donors. But support for environmental causes increased in 2010/11, and all types of charities attract some support from million pound donors.

This annual report, which is now in its fifth year of publication, tracks size, scale and recipients of donations worth £1m or more from individuals, trusts and corporations in the UK and is illustrated with a number of case studies of donors and recipients, who discuss their experience.

191 organisations received million pound donations in 2010/11. This is far higher than the 154 recipients identified in 2009/10. The vast majority (166) received only one gift of this size. Organisations that received multiple million pound donations tended to be the oldest universities (notably Oxford and Cambridge) or national arts and cultural institutions.

As in every year that the report has been published, the most frequent size of donation is worth exactly £1m, indicating that ‘giving a million’ has both economic and psychological significance for donors, and is the size of gift that establishes a donor amongst the ‘top rank’ of UK philanthropists.

Maya Prabhu, executive director of philanthropy services at Coutts said: ”It’s extremely encouraging for the development of UK philanthropy to note that this is the highest number of donors and donations since we began compiling this report in 2008. Large scale philanthropy is on the increase and the more donors there are and the more they communicate about the benefits their philanthropy brings to society and what it means to them personally, the more it will grow and strengthen a new generation of philanthropists.

“Despite the skepticism suggesting that many large scale donors are simply looking to make the most of ‘tax breaks’ on offer, our experience, as backed up by this report, is that the reality is very different. Today, the majority of the philanthropists we meet are self-made individuals, many of whom have witnessed first-hand the highs and lows of building a business, and on occasion, the possibility of losing everything. It’s a strong desire to make a contribution to the world that has afforded them so many opportunities, whilst also enriching their own lives, their families and the lives of others that we see as the main driver for their philanthropy.”

The full report can be found on the Kent University website by clicking here.
 

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