Donations to medical research charities fall

Posted on November 21, 2012 by


The Charities Aid Foundation and National Centre for Voluntary Organisations have pubished their annual UK Giving report, which looks at people’s charity-giving habits. For the sixth year in a row the most popular cause is medical research, but overall less people are donating each month and the value of those donations are also going down.

In the 2010/11 report, the survey of 3,000 people found that 38% of donors gave every month to a medical research charity, but this year that figure dropped to 33%. When extrapolated out to the whole country that means the number of people donating each month to medical research charities has dropped from 11.2 million to 9.4 million.

The total amount donated to charity fell from £11bn to £9.3bn in 2011/12 – a fall of £2.3bn when adjusted for inflation. The proportion of the population who donate every month also fell from 58% to 55% – as did the amounts they gave, from an average of £11 to £10 a month (median).

Medical research charities’ share of that money also went down, from 17% in 2010/11 to 15%, equating to a drop of almost half a billion pounds in cash terms (£1.9bn down to £1.4bn).

We’ve recently released new figures for the UK medical research spend of AMRC members. This is what our members spend on research – almost all of them also invest in other charitable activities, such as providing care and increasing awareness. As you can see below, our members have consistently invested over £1bn in research each year over the past four years. In fact there’s been a slight increase in investment from 2010 to 2011.

Despite the tough economic times, our members tell us they remain committed to funding the best research and so are looking to make efficiency savings and explore opportunities to co-fund with others to preserve their research priorities. It takes a few years for a drop in donations to filter through to what a charity can spend so these UK Giving figures could be seen as a warning sign that charities face further pressures down the line.

A summary of the report is here and the full report here.

The graph is taken from our 2011/12 Annual Review, which you can download here.

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