A record 232 separate ‘million pound or more’ philanthropic donations were made by charities, trusts and corporations in the UK in the past 12 months, Coutts’ Million Pound Donor Report has found.

Produced in association with the University of Kent, the report showed the total number of donations was the largest total identified in any one year since the study began in 2008, up by 58 donations compared to last year.

The report also indicated a potential shift towards getting philanthropic money out onto the front-line, with a higher proportion (60%) of ‘million pound’ donations given directly to operational charities, and just 40% placed into charitable trusts.


Total donations value at all time lowest

The number of ‘million pound’ philanthropic donations may be higher but their total value of £1.241bn ($2bn) is at its lowest level since Coutts’ study began in 2008.

The total value was down from £1.312 billion reported in last year’s study.

A total of more than £7bn has been donated by ‘million pound donors’ in the past five years from 2006/2007 to 2010/2011.
The report showed an increase in the number of those ‘million pound donors’, with 130 separate donors identified, up from 73 in 2009/2010.

More than half of the donations made in 2010/11 were donated by 93 individual donors, with a total value of £763m.


Increase in donations from abroad

2010/2011 also saw a rise in the number of donations made to UK charities outside the UK with seven donations made from the US, the rest coming from Canada, Hong Kong, Kuwait and South Africa.

Coutts’ philanthropy services executive director Maya Prabhu said: "Despite the skepticism suggesting that many large scale donors are simply looking to make the most of ‘tax breaks’ on offer, our experience, as backed up by this report, is that the reality is very different."

"Today, the majority of the philanthropists we meet are self-made individuals, many of whom have witnessed first hand the highs and lows of building a business, and on occasion, the possibility of losing everything," she added.