Which charities raise the most money? Photograph: Alamy
Which is Britain's biggest charity?
The death of Claire Squires in the London marathon - and subsequent influx of donations to the Samaritans - have drawn attention to the size of Britain's charities.
The money is a huge boost to the Samaritans, who raised £6.7m in the latest year available, 2010 - according to this data from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).
CAF collects the data by interrogating the Charity Commission database. The figure for each charity is a full year's data - but many organisations have different collecting periods.
While some charities have turnovers that would put a major company to shame, others have much more modest means.
The biggest charity on this list is the Gavi Alliance - which draws together major international bodies to fund immunsation programmes.
If you exclude Gavi, then the list is dominated by major health charities, such as Cancer Research UK and MacMillan; global development groups Save the Children, Oxfam and the British Red Cross; and animal charities such as the RSPCA and the RSPB. Humans, birds and animals gather together in the top 10.
The Samaritans are quite far down the list - and well below the Donkey Sanctuary, which received £18.5m - most of its income - in legacy giving from supporter's wills.
Top 1,000 UK charities by donations, £
Editor of Guardian Society Alison Benjamin says:
There are around 160,000 general charities in the UK. According to the UK Civil Society Almanac 2012, these charities have a combined income of around £37bn. Big household names such as Cancer Research UK, NSPCC, Oxfam and the RSPCA with annual incomes above £10m make up less than 1% of these charities, yet these few hundred charities account for almost half of the total income. Take the next 4,000 or so largest charities, with incomes of between £1m and £10m a year and we still have less than 3% of the total charities in the UK. In contrast the majority of charities (54%) are very small, local volunteer-run organisations with less than £10,000 a year coming in.
Donations and purchases, which includes membership dues and legacies, account for around £14bn of charities' total income (39%). Donations make up more than a third of the income of the household name charities. They employ teams of professional fundraisers and have departments dedicated to securing legacies, getting major gifts from wealthy philanthropists and signing up new supporters in the street which shores up their income year on year even during a recession. The RNLI for example says that six out of ten of its launches are funded by legacies. For every £1 given to the RNLI 81p is spent on providing a rescue service, but 16p is spent on generating voluntary income. The big cancer charities and animal charities, such as the Donkey Sanctuary and People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, consistently top the list for legacy income.
As Peter Beresford professor of social policy at Brunel University points out, today the government's U-turn on efforts to restrict tax relief to super-rich givers shows just what muscle big charity has. There seems to be a growing divide between small charitable organisations – with little profile but high energy, real street credibility and beneficiary involvement – and the traditional large organisations – with big reserves, highly paid chief executives and expensive central London headquarters, adds Beresford.
Very little of the money that may come from the super-rich is ever likely to find its way into the accounts of the grassroots voluntary organisations that make up the majority of charities.
But their survival is dependent on the generosity of individuals. Almost two thirds of their meagre income does comes from ordinary, local people raising…