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  1. Wealth
December 12, 2011

Coutts: Million Pound Donors Give £1.3bn to Charity in 2009/10

By Spear's

Over 174 separate donations of a million pounds or more, worth a total of £1.3 billion, were made to individuals, trusts and corporations in 2009/2010, the Coutts Million Pound Donors Report has found

Over 174 separate donations of a million pounds or more, worth a total of £1.3 billion, were made to individuals, trusts and corporations in 2009/2010, the Coutts Million Pound Donors Report, published today, has found. Since the Million Pound Donors Report began four years ago, donations of £1 million or more have contributed over £6 billion to various philanthropic causes.

The level of giving has fallen 15 per cent since 2008/2009, when 201 £1 million or more donations totalled £1.58 billion, however the report’s authors note that in the past four years donations have fluctuated as a natural consequence of the relatively small dataset. The fall in large donations this year was also reflected in the US, where the Million Dollar Donors List saw a fall of 25% over the same period.

The majority of these donations were made by individuals, as individual donors accounted for 60% of the total money given away, and the most common size of donation was exactly £1 million, reflecting the economic and psychological significance of the figure for donors. 10% of the donations were so-called ‘mega-gifts’ amounting to £10 million or more. All of these were made to trusts and foundations rather than given directly to operating charities. One individual donor gave a nine-figure sum away.

154 organisations were identified as recipients of large scale donations. As in previous years, higher education remains the most popular destination for £1 million or more donations, due in part to a government scheme to match private funding in this field. The report forecasts that the arts may witness an upturn in funding when a government match funding scheme comes into force in 2011.

International development has seen the largest increase in popularity among million pound donors, with the number of donations going to international development causes increasing nearly threefold to £153 million in 2009/10.

‘Before we started this annual study of million pound donations, there was no clear understanding of the scale, role and significance of the largest philanthropic acts in the UK’ said Beth Breeze, the author of the report. She added that the report is ‘helping charities, fundraisers and policymakers to build a decent knowledge base about major giving and gain a better understanding of the main trends in contemporary philanthropy, which should help the UK to develop a stronger culture of philanthropy.’

The Coutts Million Pound Donor report is produced in association with the Centre for Philanthropy, Humanitarianism and Social Justice at the University of Kent.

The full report is available for download here

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