An “extremely generous” single legacy gift of £44m contributed to Cancer Research UK’s overall income jump of £51m last year, according to its latest accounts.
CRUK reported an annual income of £719m in its accounts for the year to 31 January 2023, an increase of £51m on the previous year (£668m).
The growth was driven by a jump in fundraising, with the charity particularly noting an increase in the value of legacies. It said it had benefitted from “an extremely generous single £44m gift alongside several other multimillion-pound legacies”, with CRUK’s overall legacy income increasing by 27 per cent on 2021/22.
This was a contrast to the previous year, where legacy income had dipped slightly by £6.5m.
The charity also benefitted from more than £11m that was donated to the organisation through Dame Deborah James’ Bowelbabe Fund, which raised £3.6m in the first four days after it opened in May last year.
Trading income at CRUK also performed well in 2022/23, with the accounts showing an increase of £16m on the previous year.
The charity’s overall expenditure was £641m, down £25m on the previous year, with the biggest drop recorded in overall research spending, which fell to £398m from £443m. The CRUK accounts said this was due to a one-off change to the timing of its Institute and Clinical Training Awards in 2021/22.
The number of staff employed by CRUK jumped from 3,797 in 2022 to 4,052, while spending on wages increased from £92.2m to £96.6m.
The accounts show the charity spent £300,000 on termination pay to staff in 2022/23, compared with £900,000 the year before.
Writing in its annual report, Michelle Mitchell, the chief executive of CRUK, said the year had thrown up new challenges for the organisation.
“Just as we have put the pandemic behind us, we are now faced with a cost-of-living crisis that is impacting our supporters, volunteers, researchers and staff, and global inflationary pressures that will affect our ability to raise money and erode the value of each pound we spend on research,” she said.
Although the organisation had exceeded its fundraising expectations, Mitchell added that it was important to put the figures in context.
She said: “During the pandemic, our income fell significantly, and despite performing well this year, we were still unable to fund as much excellent research as we did a few years ago.”
However, she said CRUK remained confident of being able to spend £1.5bn on research over a five-year period.
“We should take heart from the fact that we have weathered the storms of the global financial crisis, Brexit, recession and COVID-19 reasonably well. We will need to be similarly adaptable now – not being overly reliant on what has worked before but seeking out new opportunities to grow our income and impact.
“Cancer Research UK is at its best when it is bold and ambitious – thinking big, breaking new ground and planning for the long term.”