International development funding 'drove growth of largest charities', says paper

An analysis of the latest NCVO almanac says total income for super-major charities rose by £3bn between 2009 and 2016, with their share of all charity income from government sources rising to 16 per cent

International development growing (Photograph: Getty Images)
International development growing (Photograph: Getty Images)

International development funding drove the growth of the UK’s largest charities between 2009 and 2016, according to the latest analysis of the NCVO UK Civil Society Almanac.

The analysis, which looks at super-major charities – those with incomes of more than £100m a year – says the total income for these charities rose by £3bn in 2009 to £9.4bn in 2016.

Their share of all charity income from government sources also increased over this period, from 12 per cent to 16 per cent.

This group of charities saw their income from the the Department for International Development, foreign governments and other international agencies grow by 72 per cent between 2013/14 and 2015/16 alone. However, government funding for the largest charities working in sectors other than global development fell by 5 per cent on 2009, in line with the charity sector as a whole.

Other data shows how similar income trends were for both the largest charities and smaller organisations. The richest charities received the highest proportion of their funding from individuals, in common with the rest of the sector (45 per cent compared with 47 per cent), with similar proportions coming from investment returns, the National Lottery and business pursuits.

Forty-five charities turned over more than £100m, according to the paper, and they accounted for one-fifth of the sector’s total income.

Karl Wilding, NCVO’s director of public policy and volunteering, said: "This new analysis shows that the UK’s charities might have more in common with much smaller organisations than is commonly assumed. Despite their size, super-major charities are affected by wider trends in government spending, individual giving and grant making in much the same way as the rest of the voluntary sector.

"But they’re also a very diverse group. Like the rest of the voluntary sector, they represent all walks of life. By digging a little deeper into this report, we hope to help a build understanding of how our largest charities fit into the voluntary sector."

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