The best-known charity brands raised £5.1bn in fundraising income from £1.6bn of fundraising expenditure, research carried out by Third Sector has found.
Third Sector examined the accounts of 157 charities that made up its Charity Brand Index of the most prominent charities in the sector and found that those charities had brought in £5.1bn of income from fundraising.
In comparison, total income for those charities was £11.4bn and the charities spent £1.6bn on fundraising costs.
The accounts that feature in the research were the most recent ones published by each charity on either the Companies House website, the Charity Commission website or on their own websites before a cut-off point of 1 December.
Third Sector found that the mean average amount raised through fundraising by a charity was £32.7m, with a median of £13.2m.
The mean average spending on fundraising was £10.2m, with a median of £4.1m, the research found.
Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and external affairs at the Institute of Fundraising, said: "This review of charity accounts shows again the value of the return on investment on fundraising.
"Charities need to spend money on generating income, but of course have to show that this is a good use of charitable funds.
"Year on year, an investment in fundraising produces significant returns for charities, both in terms of voluntary income raised and the wider benefits of reach, engagement, awareness of their cause and service delivery."
Third Sector’s research also found that the charities had a total legacies income of £1.5bn.
The mean average legacies income was £9.7m, the research found, and the median was £1.9m.
Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: "This new data emphasises that legacies continue to be a major income driver for charities, with 29 per cent of funds raised through gifts in wills.
"We believe that the current trend for growth in legacies will continue and that an increase in collaborative working, driven by Remember A Charity, will see a greater breadth and number of charities benefiting from this essential income stream in future years."