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How we raise our funds

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It’s thanks to the generosity of our supporters that Age UK can be here for so many older people when they need us most.

In 2020/21, our wonderful supporters helped raise more than £87 million - an increase of 30% on the previous year largely driven by our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal. 

How we raised and spent our money in 2020/21

Our net resources for charitable activity were £69.3 million.

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We spent £71.1 million on charitable activity.

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Rising to the challenge of the pandemic

We launched our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal just before the end of the 2019/20 financial year, setting ourselves the ambitious challenge of raising £10 million. By July 2020 we had exceeded it, raising £12.2 million in total through the appeal (£11.5 million in 2020/21).

Thank you to everyone who stood with us this year. From long-standing partners and supporters of Age UK, to new donors and friends; you provided a tremendous boost for Age UK and older people at a crucial time.

"Thinking of the older folk who have nobody to talk to or ask for help absolutely breaks my heart and as a result of that I’ve decided to help."

Sean, who completed around 15,000 laps of his six-metre flat in Colchester and raised £6,764 for our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal.

Gifts in wills provide support and friendship, now and for the future

We simply could not continue to help older people today or research and campaign to make later life better for future generations without the generosity of those leaving a gift in their will to Age UK.

In 2020/21, income from legacies totalled £23.1 million.

How to leave a gift in your will

Donations help us reach more older people

The work of Age UK would simply not be possible without the generosity of the public. Each year thousands of supporters make one off or regular donations to support older people. This year, income from donations and gifts was £28 million. Donations and gifts were our biggest source of income this year. It’s an area that has seen huge growth, thanks to the generosity of existing and new supporters who were moved by our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal.

Our lottery and raffle players helped fund vital work

Age UK’s society lottery (including our raffle) income in the year totalled £10.9 million. The lotteries and raffles programme supports 3 specific areas of Age UK’s work under three Society Lottery licences: information and advice, education and research, and local programmes. In 2020 we gave out more than 48,000 prizes in our Friday draw, 65,000 prizes in our Tuesday Treat draw, 20,000 prizes in our Superdraw, and 40 prizes in our raffle.

Partnerships are at the heart of our fundraising

In 2020/21, we received £25.2 million from corporate partnerships, charitable trusts and foundations and other grant-giving bodies. In addition, companies donated over £1 million through gifts-in-kind such as free airtime and advertising space, PPE for staff and volunteers at local Age UKs, donated IT equipment and pro-bono expertise, plus thousands of hours of staff volunteering.

This exceptional result was largely due to the generosity of existing and new supporters who responded so quickly to our requests for help to support older people through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

Become a corporate partner
Learn more about our work with trusts and foundations

When I joined Age UK, I quickly learned about the many struggles older people face every day. Being part of the team, I know how passionate and hard everyone works to make a real difference in their lives, making the work that I do feel so much more meaningful.

Goldene, who works in the Age UK fundraising team

Our fundraising values

We have developed fundraising values that put older people at the very heart of what we do. Our supporters can be reassured that our fundraising will always be of the highest standard.  

Ensuring positive fundraising

Our aim is to ensure that engaging with Age UK’s fundraising activities is a positive experience and that donors and the public are always treated with respect, fairness, honesty, and clarity. Age UK is regulated by the Fundraising Regulator and therefore complies with the Code of Fundraising Practice and the Fundraising Promise. Age UK is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and we collaborate with them to strive for the highest standard of fundraising practices across the sector. We regularly review our fundraising approach and work with others with the aim of promoting best practice across the charity sector.

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Keeping our supporters’ data safe

We take the role of protecting and using supporter data in the right way very seriously. Our Chief Data Officer and Information Security team continually review how we securely and safely store, manage, and destroy personal and sensitive information. We maintain a strict adherence to the Data Protection Act 2018 and record supporters’ preferred methods of communication.

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Fundraising through third parties

Rigorous contracts are in place with third party agencies and we require strict adherence to applicable laws such as the Fundraising Regulators Code of Fundraising Practice as well as data protection laws. We do not conduct any outbound telemarketing or face-to-face fundraising.

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How we monitor fundraising

Age UK uses a broad variety of fundraising channels to engage our diverse supporter audiences to raise funds for the Charity and provide updates on the impact of donations. We also gratefully receive donations of clothes and goods to our shops. All fundraising activity is subject to an approval process that is supported by our Fundraising Compliance Manager and Legal team. The performance of fundraising campaigns and our third-party suppliers is regularly reviewed. We are consistently looking to hear feedback from supporters and internal and external stakeholders to deliver a high standard of performance and compliance.

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Protecting the privacy and data of our supporters

We remain committed to protecting and respecting the privacy of all our supporters. We have continued to work closely with our partners across the Age UK network to ensure that all individuals’ data is captured, stored, and used compliantly and with the utmost care. We have focused on strengthening the existing collaboration and processes with our suppliers and agencies in respect of personal data. We have also adjusted our privacy policy which we think better reflects the nature, scope, context, and purposes of processing that the organisation undertakes. The full version of our privacy policy can be found here

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Addressing people's concerns

In 2019/20 we received 690 complaints about our fundraising practices. We take all complaints seriously and respond to each one in line with our complaints policy. This year we saw an increase in complaints related to GDPR data issues, particularly our lottery and raffle fundraising. Our raffle and lottery operations have now been integrated within our fundraising department to ensure a more consistent supporter experience. Overall, the number of complaints we received when compared against our fundraising reach remains low, but we are aiming to reduce this further. One of these complaints in 2019/20 was referred to the Fundraising Regulator and required us to investigate and take further action to improve our fundraising practices around clothing bag collections. We identified shortcomings and have changed our approach to charity shop donations to both improve our supporters’ experiences and prevent the recurrence of this type of issue. No other matters were referred to the Fundraising Regulator this year.

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Protecting vulnerable people

Our policy on fundraising with people in vulnerable circumstances is followed by all our fundraisers. Our Fundraising Compliance Manager reviews all fundraising materials and provides training to our fundraisers, and those fundraising on our behalf, when required. In addition, we incorporate the Institute of Fundraising’s 'Treating donors fairly' guidance into our fundraising. We regularly review our fundraising marketing channels and propositions and take on feedback from our supporters and the public.

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Future fundraising

As the UK’s older population grows so too does the need for our work – and we plan to invest in our ability to fundraise so that we can continue to provide support to those in need and be a voice of older people.

Find out how you can help

Annual report

For more information about our work, read or download Age UK’s Report of Trustees and Annual Accounts for 2020/21.

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