Philanthropy report reveals more donations, but of lower value

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The number of philanthropic donations to charitable causes worth £1 million or more reached their highest level in five years during 2010/11, although their overall value has fallen, according to the latest Coutts Million Pound Donor Report.

Arts and culture, higher education and international development remained the most popular beneficiaries for the largest gifts among both individual and institutional donors, with the survey’s findings showing a significant leap in overall donations – up by 58 year on year – with more than 232 contributions from individuals, trusts and corporations.

The number of different donors rose from 73 in 2009/10 to 130. Individuals continue to be the most significant source of the largest donations, with 93 donors contributing £763 million between them.

However, while 191 organisations received donations of £1 million (almost a quarter more than in the previous) the total value of £1.2 billion was down 5.4% and the lowest since the report launched in 2008.

The report, which is sponsored by Coutts and conducted in partnership with the University of Kent’s Centre for Philanthropy, also found that despite the fall in the overall value of million-pound donations, the amount going directly to charities rather than being banked in foundations increased from £631 million to £747 million, “indicating a shift towards getting funds out onto the ‘front line’ to charities, many of which are struggling to raise funds from other sources”.

Executive director of philanthropy services at Coutts Maya Prabhu said: “Large-scale philanthropy is on the increase and the more donors there are and the more they communicate about the benefits their philanthropy brings to society and what it means to them personally, the more it will grow and strengthen a new generation of philanthropists. It’s a strong desire to make a contribution to the world that has afforded them so many opportunities, whilst also enriching their own lives, their families and the lives of others that we see as the main driver for their philanthropy”.