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Mar 21

Best value charities to donate to

Emil Blake 21st Mar 2017 10 Comments

Most of us would agree that many charities do good work, but which are the best value charities to give your money to? In other words, which are the ones that spend the least on admin fees and the most on the actual work?

The public have been left confused for some time now about whether the charities they donate to are doing enough or too little, how much money they are spending on overheads and administration costs, and whether they are paying third parties to increase their cash streams.


how charities spend their money


How charities spend their money is not often clear.

Of course, one organisation might have greater need to spend money on raising awareness than others, depending on how important the public believe their particular cause is.

Clearly cancer charities are going to have a higher profile – and a potentially easier job of raising funds – than a donkey sanctuary.

You would hope that 100% of the money you donate goes to the actual cause you are trying to help. But then, these charities often have people working for them who need to be paid, offices that they work from, admin costs and other things they need to spend money on.

The question is, are these costs reasonable, or could they be much lower?

the biggest charities in the UK

Here is a list of how much money, per £1 raised, goes directly to causes that some of the biggest charities represent:


which are the best value charities to donate to?

There are 180,000 registered charities in the UK but 60% of all donations go to just 500 charities.

While they are all noble causes we at MoneyMagpie believe that it would be good for charities that do the most good to get more exposure.

So, we’ve put together a list of worthwhile charities. Many of these charities may not be familiar to most people, but based on research of the figures available, they represent good value for the money based on how much money goes towards the cause.


Petting a horse

  • Margaret Green Animal Rescue – 98%
  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust – 92%
  • Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens – 97%


Action For Children banner

  • Catch 22 – 90%
  • Family Action – 94%
  • Youth Access – 98%

The Elderly

How to make people happy

  • Elderly Accommodation Counsel – 97%
  • Whiteley Homes Trust – 98%
  • Guild Care – 91%

 Health and Disability

Treloar Trust

  • Treloar Trust – 95%
  • Cicely Saunders International – 97%
  • Oncore UK – 99%


Any of the charities above will use your money on the good work itself, rather than the cost of employees, offices and the like.


make your money work harder

Remember that you can give even more money, without it costing you anything, by making sure you tick the ‘Gift Aid’ box when you make a donation.

Even better, you can add Gift Aid when you donate things to your local charity shop. This means that on top of the money they get from selling your stuff, they also get the tax you would have paid on that amount.

Of course, giving stuff to charity shops is a fantastic way of giving to charity anyway – with or without Gift Aid. It’s a great way to recycle stuff, keep it from landfill, enable people in your locality to buy things cheaply and the charity gets to make money out of it too. It’s a total win-win as you can see here.


Also, find out here how to make money from buying things in charity shops!

Remember for this year’s Clear Your Clutter campaign we’re working with Action For Children to organise clothes swaps and sales across the country, find out how to get involved.

Clear Your Clutter Day April 13th 2018


What do you think about giving to charity? 

Do you get angry at the idea of charities spending more than 10% of their income on admin? 

Are there any charities you donate to that use almost 100% of their income in the right way? Tell us about it below.

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1 year ago

I’m sorry, but listing charities as “the best” based on how much of their donations goes directly to whatever they are campaigning about is a) really naive and b) shows a complete ignorance of how charities work. I could start a charity tomorrow, one that looks after stray cats, and spend 99% of what I get feeding stray cats, but would that make me a better charity to give money to than one that spends 90% of it’s money on free cat neuter services? Of course not, because I’m not spending the money I get in a useful way that… Read more »

2 years ago

Searched hoping to find the best charity to donate to for homeless people couldn’t get info on this site it seems every other add is for refugees , its time we started looking out for our resident homeless people before we help people from abroad

Mark Morley
Mark Morley
2 years ago

I donate my charitable donations to The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints because they receive other donations that keep the Church growing but donations to the poor and needy go where they should!

4 years ago

I wish to find a charity that is vocational rather than occupational. There must be some deserving cause that has 100% voluntary staffing so all the money goes to the cause.
I have twice requested information from the Charities Commission and had no reply.. In excess of 600 Cancer Charities are registered in the UK they may well be worthwhile but they do not work together and I doubt they share research information. Each has its own CEO not wishing to loose their status or well paid position.

1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

If you are paying the wages of the people who are working full time for a charitable cause then your money IS going to the cause. e.g. for cancer research – do you really expect highly qualified medical researchers work for nothing? Are they supposed to live on fresh air?

4 years ago

We’re a group of corporate volunteers looking for mental health charities that need help, I have had a look at Mental Health UK, Mental Health Foundation, SANE, and Young Minds – the admin costs look too high. Any recommendations for mental health charities that need help and will spend the money wisely?

Jan Tee
Jan Tee
4 years ago
Reply to  Ikram

Hello Ikram, I have just read your article and have you thought about getting involved with a Special School called Belmont based in Cheltenham Gloucestershire where I am a governor and member of the F@B PTA team. Many of our children have mental health issues as well as complex needs. If you would like more information, please reply back to me on my email address. We are a registered charity.

Abdul Shahin
Abdul Shahin
5 years ago

oncore uk no longer exists

Jasmine Birtles
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdul Shahin

Thank you. that’s good to know. We will update it.

5 years ago

You article still mentions oncore uk

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