Most popular charity fundraisers in the UK

How much money are Brits donating?

In England and Wales there are 168,186 registered charities that have a total annual income of £77.4 billion. With so much choice it can be hard to decide where to donate your spare pounds. The coronavirus pandemic has seen waves of individuals and organisations fundraising to support the NHS through the crisis. We have looked into which fundraisers and crises Brits have donated to and how much money they’ve raised.

Quick overview

  • Coronavirus fundraising has exceeded the income that Children in Need and Sports Relief received over the last year.
  • Over 11,000 individuals and organisations are fundraising for coronavirus through the NHS Charities Together appeal.
  • Children in Need is the charity event that brings in the most donations, with £47.9 million raised in 2019.

Comparing charities

Brits have indeed been generous with their money to charities during both 2019 and 2020. Race for Life (for Cancer Research UK) is the biggest fundraiser event in the UK, in terms of the number of race participants. It received £35 million in donations in 2019, an increase of £3 million the previous year. The BBC fundraiser Sports Relief, a charity event focusing on those in need both in the UK and around the world, raised no less than £40,540,355 when broadcast in March 2020.

The newly-arranged coronavirus fundraisers, with Captain Tom in the lead, collectively raised £43.7 million for NHS Charities Together. Interestingly, the amount of money raised for coronavirus also beats these two famous fundraising events, despite these efforts being established only a month ago. The fundraiser for Children in Need (2019) raised a staggering £47.9 million.

Cause Donations
Children in Need 2019 £47,886,382
Coronavirus fundraisers £43,716,840
Sports relief 2020 £40,540,355
Race for Life 2019 £35,000,000

NHS Charities Together appeal for the coronavirus pandemic

The NHS Charities Together appeal started at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in the UK with the aim of supporting NHS workers on the frontline by proving wellbeing packs, accommodation, travel, parking and covering volunteer expenses. In the longer term, this fund hopes to help with mental health and rehabilitation of NHS staff, volunteers, patients and carers when the pandemic is over. Over 11,000 individuals and organisations are fundraising for this cause and in excess of £43 million has been raised. Captain, now Colonel, Tom Moore has raised by far the most for this appeal, having reached over £32 million worth of donations for walking 100 lengths of his garden.

Cause Donations
Captain Tom Moore's 100th Birthday Walk for the NHS £32,796,410
RUN FOR HEROES £5,456,794
Other fundraising and donations £5,462,857
Total £43,716,061

Children in Need 2016–2019

Year-on-year donations for Children in Need remain around the £50 million mark, but 2019 saw a slight downturn with donations reaching £47.9 million. This is almost 3 million less than the year before (2018).

Cause Donations
Children in Need 2019 £47,886,382
Children in Need 2018 £50,595,093
Children in Need 2017 £50,168,562
Children in Need 2016 £46,624,259

Comic Relief and Sports Relief 2015–2020

Comic Relief and Sports Relief take place on alternate years, though Sports Relief receives almost half the donations that Comic Relief does. Comic Relief brings in more money than Sports Relief because schools and workplaces tend to get more involved, through hosting cake sales, fancy dress and wearing the iconic bright red noses. Online stores and supermarkets also get to participate by selling Comic Relief merchandise.

Cause Donations
Sports relief 2020 £40,540,355
Comic relief 2019 £63,548,668
Sports relief 2018 £38,195,278
Comic relief 2017 £82,154,943
Sports relief 2016 £55,444,906
Comic relief 2015 £99,418,831


  • Gov.UK
  • BBC
  • Metro
  • CivilSociety
  • NHS
  • JustGiving

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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