Facts and figures: UK charity sector 2018


Facts and figures: UK charity sector 2018

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The updated version of the essential facts and figures about the UK charity sector at your fingertips, including statistics on volunteering, donations, size of the sector and more. Take a look at the 10 key figures below and download the full article for more:

10 key facts

  • There are 880,000 paid employees in the charity sector
  • There are 168,000 registered charities in the UK, nearly 90% of which have an annual income below £500K
  • The total income of all charities combined is about £48 billion. This is higher than the Higher Education sector, and about £10 billion less than Tesco.
  • The voluntary sector contributes approximately £15.3bn to UK GVA – more than the arts or agriculture.
  • The value of formal volunteering in the UK is around £22.6bn
  • Individuals account for almost half of the sector’s total income
  • The median for the 100 highest paid positions is £185K per annum
  • Charities have over 10 regulators
  • Charities fund almost half of all medical research in the UK
  • 35% of the total voluntary sector workforce work in the social care subsector


Submitted by Tiiu Miller (not verified) on 4 Oct 2018


In the downloaded report you say 'All charities are regulated by the Charity Commission in England and Wales.' That is incorrect. Scottish charities are regulated by OSCR, which you have completely omitted. Yet the report claims to be about the UK charity sector. Scotland is still part of the UK. We rejected independence in 2014. Moreover you do mention Scotland later in the report. I suggest a correction and apology.

Hi Tiiu, Ruby (author of the report) here. You're absolutely right. I'm very sorry for this lapse, we'll have it amended as soon as possible. If you have any more questions or comments please do let us know!

Submitted by Bruce Tait (not verified) on 4 Oct 2018


You mention that there are 168,000 charities in the UK, which is the figure that the Charity Commission also use for the number of charities in England and Wales. This suggests that rather shockingly you've forgotten about the 24,500 charities in Scotland and the estimated 6,000 in Northern Ireland.

Hi Bruce. This was my error and I apologise deeply. The document has now been amended to include UK-wide data. Please do let me know if you have any other concerns. Thanks, Ruby

Submitted by Fraser (not verified) on 12 Oct 2019


How much charity income is received from other charities (eg grantmaking bodies giving to operating charities)?

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