Sightsavers tops gifts list

Charity Market Monitor report reveals it received gifts in kind worth £70m

Sightsavers received gifts in kind worth almost £70m in 2008, an increase of more than £25m on the previous year and the highest-value gifts in kind received by any charity that year, research shows.

Most of the donations were of drugs to prevent river blindness in Africa, which were given to the charity by pharmaceuticals firm Merck. Sightsavers ranked highest in a list of all UK charities by gifts in kind, which was part of the annual Charity Market Monitor report published last month.

The second charity on the list, the National Gallery, received gifts in kind worth £31m. Save the Children was third, with gifts in kind worth more than £29m.

Caroline Harper, chief executive of Sightsavers International, said it had been working with Merck for more than 20 years. "Merck has pledged to give as much as it takes, for as long as it takes," she said.

"Last year, we started distributing the drugs to more areas than before and giving them out twice a year rather than once, so it required a much bigger investment."

The CMM report said that gifts in kind were attractive to donors and companies at the moment and charities should make the most of this.

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Case study: Sightsavers

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