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Number of GBP1m+ donations rises by 50 per cent

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Some 292 donations, with a value of GBP1.36bn, were made to charitable causes or banked in foundations in 2013, according to the latest Coutts Million Pound Donors Report.

This represents a 50 per cent increase on the number of gifts made in 2012, yet only less than one per cent increase from the GBP1.35bn made in the previous year. The number of donations of GBP1m or more is the highest ever recorded since the report was first produced in 2008.
 
These are the findings of the seventh edition of the Coutts Million Pound Donors Report, produced in association with the University of Kent, which tracks the number, size, scale, and destination of GBP1m+ donations made by individuals, foundations and corporations in the UK.
 
As seen in the 2013 report, higher education institutions continue to be the most popular beneficiaries, with 65 or 41 per cent of all GBP1m+ donations, totalling GBP552m, to fund initiatives such as research projects and scholarships. Higher education institutions received seven out of the ten largest donations in 2013, all worth at least GBP30m. A total of 33 universities received seven-figure donations and 11 of these saw more than one donation of this size. Oxford received 12 such gifts and Cambridge was given seven, though nine non-Oxbridge higher education institutions accepted at least one eight-figure gift.
 
London kept its status as the centre of UK philanthropy, producing the vast majority of million pound donors, with 169 donations and 69 per cent of the total. Together with those from the South East, this accounted for roughly three-quarters of the total value of the million pound donations last year. The only other region where the number of donations exceeded ten was the North West, with 16 donations, accounting for 6.5 per cent of the total value. Notably though, the largest gift in 2013 came from overseas (GBP75m), highlighting the role that international donors play in UK philanthropy.
 
Dr Beth Breeze from the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent co-author of the UK report, says: "It is very encouraging to see such a large number of million pound donations. This finding marks a new stage in UK philanthropy, when ‘giving a million’ becomes the new normal for those that have the capacity to give at the highest level. We have long known that social norms and social pressure are key to encouraging philanthropy: the heightened attention on major givers in the media, and the increasingly positive climate for philanthropy in the UK, have combined to nudge people towards making more significant donations than they might otherwise have done.
 
“We should also acknowledge the role that the fundraising profession has played – many charities now devote substantial time and effort in attracting and looking after their biggest givers. Having well-trained and trusted people that are willing to make a compelling ‘ask’ for seven-figure sums, enables more charities to benefit from the generosity of our wealthiest donors."

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