Charity Brand Index: Macmillan tops the first league of charity brands

Cancer Research UK might raise more money, but Macmillan Cancer Support has the better brand, according to Third Sector's new research. Tristan Donovan reports on the charity that brings supporters together with its World's Biggest Coffee Morning events

Macmillan Cancer Support World's Biggest Coffee Morning
Macmillan Cancer Support World's Biggest Coffee Morning

Macmillan Cancer Support is the best charity brand in the UK. That's the verdict of the 3,032 adults polled for Third Sector's inaugural Charity Brand Index, which was compiled in partnership with PRWeek and market research company Harris Interactive.

The index is a major research project designed to help arm the nation's leading charity communications teams with hard data about their work and how their organisations are perceived by the public.

The Charity Brand Index's rankings are based on a representative sample of the public's views on the top 150 national charities, ranked by voluntary income. They were asked questions ranging from recognition of the charity's name and support for its cause to their level of trust in it and whether they remembered seeing media coverage in the six months before the survey.

Harris Interactive then calculated a score for each charity, using a formula similar to those used in assessments of people's views of large corporate brands. The result was the UK's top 100 charity brands, and Macmillan Cancer Support came top.

Ian Barrow, head of research for the public sector and charities at Harris Interactive, said: "The major influences pushing Macmillan to number one were a high familiarity score and an extremely positive impression of the brand. It has a voluntary income of less than a third of the second-placed brand - Cancer Research UK - so the index has demonstrated that charities can successfully punch well above their weight."

The findings also revealed significant differences in attitudes to different cause areas. The cause area of cancer scored highest in all areas except one - "recognised when prompted". This was when people were given specific names of charities and asked if they knew them.

In this area, the top-scoring cause area was children and young people, followed by social affairs (excluding children's charities) and international aid.


The full list of the top 100 brands can be viewed at, along with sample pages of the report, the contents page and the introduction. To purchase a copy of the whole 132-page report, please contact Heather Shutt at


1. Macmillan Cancer Support
2. Cancer Research UK
5. BBC Children in Need
=6. British Heart Foundation Comic Relief
8. Marie Curie Cancer Care
=9. British Red Cross RNLI
11. Guide Dogs
12. Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity
13. Oxfam
14. Help the Aged
15. Age Concern
16. St John Ambulance
17. Barnardo's
18. RNIB
=19. Royal British Legion The Salvation Army
21. Save the Children UK
22. WWF
=23. Battersea Dogs & Cats Home The National Trust
25. Breast Cancer Care


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