The 50 Biggest Charities in the UK in 2019

Ranked by annual income with overall analysis

27 November 2019
The 50 biggest charities in the UK in 2019 by income

Total Income

The total income received by UK charities in 2019 was a whopping £83 billion pounds[1] with over 169,000 registered charities. This income was made up of a mixture of voluntary donations, income from investments, endowments, legacies and other fundraising activities.

The average income per charity was £490,268
The median income was £17,290

These figures reveal that there was a very unequal distribution of income amongst charities with most of the money flowing to the very largest. In fact, the top 10 charities alone accounted for £7.18 billion pounds. That's around 8.66% of the total income in 2019 from just 0.006% of the total number of charities.

With that background in mind, here are the largest UK charities by income in 2019.

The Top 10

#1 The British Council £1,172,340,275 (regno. 209131)
The british council creates friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the uk and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the uk and the countries we work with. We reach millions of people across the world, working with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, english language, education and civil society.
Activities: Education & Training Programmes | Overseas Aid & Famine Relief | Arts, Culture, Heritage & Science
Charitable Spending: 99.22% high | Income: £1,172,340,275 high | Employees: 10677 large | Volunteers: 4 small
#2 Nuffield Health £946,200,000 (regno. 205533)
To advance, promote and maintain health and healthcare of all descriptions and to prevent, relieve and cure sickness and ill health of every kind.
Activities: Medical Research | Children & Young People | Elderly People
Charitable Spending: 99.57% high | Income: £946,200,000 high | Employees: 16187 large | Volunteers: 0 small
#3 Lloyd's Register Foundation £890,466,000 (regno. 1145988)
Lloyd's register foundation promotes safety and education. Most of the consolidated income is attributable to the lloyd's register group, a trading group that distributes profit to the foundation. It is received dividends and not the consolidated trading income that is available to the foundation. The trading group is a 'social investment' that also furthers the foundation's charitable aims.
Activities: Education & Training Programmes | Medical Research
Charitable Spending: 99.99% high | Income: £890,466,000 high | Employees: 6829 large | Volunteers: 0 small
#4 The Arts Council Of England £727,479,000 (regno. 1036733)
Arts council england works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people's lives. As the national development agency for the arts we support a range of artistic activities, acting as an independent body at arm's length from government. 'achieving great art for everyone' is our 10-year strategic framework for the arts.
Activities: Arts, Culture, Heritage & Science
Charitable Spending: Not reported low | Income: £727,479,000 high | Employees: 492 large | Volunteers: 0 small
#5 Cancer Research Uk £634,362,029 (regno. 1089464)
Cancer research uk is dedicated to saving lives through research. Our mission is to prevent, control and cure cancer through our ground-breaking research and in the last 40 years our work has helped double survival rates. But there is more work to be done. The only charity fighting over 200 types of cancer, we rely on every pound donated to help get us closer to beating cancer.
Activities: Education & Training Programmes | Medical Research
Charitable Spending: 99.75% high | Income: £634,362,029 high | Employees: 4105 large | Volunteers: 47000 large
#6 The Charities Aid Foundation £614,303,000 (regno. 268369)
Charities aid foundation (caf) is a registered charity with a simple aim: to make charity donations go further. We make it easier for donors to give and for charities to manage their money. We do this by enabling donors to give tax-efficiently to charities, helping employers run community programmes and offering charities low-cost banking, investment and fundraising services.
Charitable Spending: 99.76% high | Income: £614,303,000 high | Employees: 606 large | Volunteers: 30 small
#7 The National Trust For Places Of Historic Interest Or Natural Beauty £594,875,000 (regno. 205846)
To look after places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the benefit of the nation across england, wales and northern ireland.
Activities: Environmental Conservation & Heritage
Charitable Spending: 99.88% high | Income: £594,875,000 high | Employees: 7002 large | Volunteers: 61000 large
#8 Cardiff University £517,689,000 (regno. 1136855)
The university provides higher education to the general public which will also include numerous research activities. For more detail see the public benefit statement within the annual financial statements.
Activities: Education & Training Programmes | Medical Research
Charitable Spending: 99.73% high | Income: £517,689,000 high | Employees: 5679 large | Volunteers: 550 large
#9 Wellcome Trust £484,774,023 (regno. 210183)
Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We support researchers, we take on big health challenges, we campaign for better science, and we help everyone get involved with science and health research. We are a politically and financially independent foundation.
Activities: Education & Training Programmes | Medical Research | Arts, Culture, Heritage & Science
Charitable Spending: 99.67% high | Income: £484,774,023 high | Employees: 1797 large | Volunteers: 0 small
#10 The Capricorn Foundation £435,595,000 (regno. 1135174)
To support the ramsbury manor foundation (registered charity number 10874451) and for other general charitable purposes
Charitable Spending: 70.47% low | Income: £435,595,000 high | Employees: 0 small | Volunteers: 0 small

The income for the top 50 charities combined accounted for a total of £16.66 billion pounds - or 20.09% of all income received by UK charities in 2019. Once again this highlights the extreme concentration of income by the largest charities with the top 50 representing just 0.027% of all registered charities.

An exploration of the pros and cons and other effects of income distribution on the charity landscape is a topic for a future post.

Below are the remaining charities in the top 50.

#11 Oxfam £427,200,000 (regno. 202918) Details
#12 United Church Schools Foundation Ltd £405,686,000 (regno. 313999) Details
#13 Citb £357,803,000 (regno. 264289) Details
#14 British Heart Foundation £338,000,000 (regno. 225971) Details
#15 Royal Commonwealth Society For The Blind £312,765,000 (regno. 207544) Details
#16 Swansea University £308,217,000 (regno. 1138342) Details
#17 Barnardo's £304,271,000 (regno. 216250) Details
#18 The Save The Children Fund £303,202,000 (regno. 213890) Details
#19 Marie Stopes International £296,849,000 (regno. 265543) Details
#20 The Ormiston Trust £266,703,000 (regno. 1164358) Details
#21 The Girls' Day School Trust £258,696,000 (regno. 306983) Details
#22 The Shaw Trust Limited £248,384,000 (regno. 287785) Details
#23 The British Red Cross Society £243,300,000 (regno. 220949) Details
#24 Liverpool School Of Tropical Medicine £232,397,000 (regno. 222655) Details
#25 The Salvation Army £231,372,000 (regno. 214779) Details
#26 Methodist Homes £229,430,000 (regno. 1083995) Details
#27 Macmillan Cancer Support £212,258,000 (regno. 261017) Details
#28 Canal & River Trust £204,900,000 (regno. 1146792) Details
#29 Royal Mencap Society £203,748,000 (regno. 222377) Details
#30 St Andrew's Healthcare £201,500,000 (regno. 1104951) Details
#31 Change, Grow, Live £212,573,000 (regno. 1079327) Details
#32 The Royal National Lifeboat Institution £192,214,000 (regno. 209603) Details
#33 Church Commissioners For England £188,248,041 (regno. 1140097) Details
#34 University Of South Wales/prifysgol De Cymru £184,522,000 (regno. 1140312) Details
#35 The Eric Wright Charitable Trust £184,012,535 (regno. 1002966) Details
#36 Oasis International Association £182,016,000 (regno. 1098100) Details
#37 Leonard Cheshire Disability £162,022,000 (regno. 218186) Details
#38 Aqa Education £187,030,000 (regno. 1073334) Details
#39 Bangor University £164,877,000 (regno. 1141565) Details
#40 The Royal British Legion £163,178,000 (regno. 219279) Details
#41 Aga Khan Foundation (united Kingdom) £159,786,000 (regno. 266518) Details
#42 Marie Curie £159,319,000 (regno. 207994) Details
#43 The General Service Board Of Alcoholics Anonymous (great Britain) Limited £152,013,500 (regno. 226745) Details
#44 Action For Children £151,341,000 (regno. 1097940) Details
#45 The Archbishops' Council £149,885,000 (regno. 1074857) Details
#46 Age Uk £147,404,000 (regno. 1128267) Details
#47 Trustees Of The London Clinic Limited £147,143,000 (regno. 211136) Details
#48 The Francis Crick Institute Limited £146,627,000 (regno. 1140062) Details
#49 Jisc £145,094,000 (regno. 1149740) Details
#50 Genome Research Limited £144,812,000 (regno. 1021457) Details

So that was the top 50 biggest charities in the UK in 2019. Were there any suprises in there? Want to find out more or notice anything wrong? Please Contact Us and let us know!

[1] All data was obtained from The Charities Comission for England and Wales Open Database. Calculations were based on 2018 data where 2019 annual returns were not available.

Give your donations Superpowers!

If you believe in our mission we'd love to have you on board.

Get Started