Charities’ “blown away” by the public’s support, as a record-breaking £20m has been raised in the Big Give Christmas Challenge

The UK’s biggest coordinated Christmas fundraising campaign, the ‘Big  Give  Christmas Challenge’, has broken its fundraising record, as it reveals that a staggering £20.1m has been donated during the  week-long matched funding campaign, which ended  on Tuesday 8th December.

The money  raised will be a vital lifeline for the 764 charities that  took part this year, including homeslessnesss/refuge charities, which were the hardest hit by Covid-19. These charities saw the greatest demand in their services, up 81% since the pandemic hit, it was revealed in an  industry-wide report conducted by the Big Give in a survey of over 1,000 UK charities last month.

As the campaign came to a close, 71,000 donations had been made via the Big Give Christmas Challenge website (thebiggive.org.uk), an increase of 70% on than last year. Donations poured in from across the world, as 107 countries supported charities in need.

James Reed, Chair of The Big Give and Chief Executive of recruitment company REED, commented: Were delighted to have raised a record-breaking £20m for 764 good causes. This year people have been especially generous and I would like to thank everyone for their incredible generosity, kindness and support.”

This year, dozens of celebrities took part in promoting the campaign. Famous faces including that of Sir Michael Palin, Tom Kerridge, Jo Brand, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Dame Darcey Bussell, featured in the official campaign video.

Meanwhile, throughout the week, celebrities including Emilia Fox, Gordon Ramsey,  Stephen Fry and Will Greenwood took to social media to encourage the public to donate.

Will Greenwood, ex-professional Rugby  player and  Patron of Borne, said: “It’s been a difficult year for so many charities including Borne, a medical research charity that is very close to mine and my wife’s hearts, with the mission of ending preterm birth.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge was the perfect way to end the year on a positive note – and we were blown away by the response of supporters who helped us raise over £158,000,

smashing our target. I want to thank everyone who got on board with the campaign – from Dame  Darcey  Bussell, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and  Luke  Cowan-Dickie, to our network of supporters on social media who helped us spread the word.”

The  Christmas  Challenge  broke  two  further  fundraising  records; on day one  of the campaign,  #GivingTuesday (1st December), donations were almost double (48%) in the first 12-hours of the campaign going live, than last year, raising a staggering £7.6million. While an incredible £1m was raised in the first 20 minutes of the Christmas Challenge launching.

Continuing the record-breaking streak, the Big Give Christmas Challenge, which returned for the 13th consecutive year, had more charities participating in the campaign than ever before, up 30% than last year. Furthermore, the average donation was £136, compared to the national average charity gift of £45 (according to  CAF 2019 report  on charitable giving), highlighting just how much the public want to help charities in need this year.

Christmas has always been a critical time for charity fundraising, and this year it’s more vital than ever before, as charity income was so badly impacted by Coronavirus.

The report, which the Big Give conducted in November, found that one in five (22%) charities would usually secure more than a quarter of their voluntary income during the Christmas period. But that this year,  nearly two-thirds (63%) expected donations to be lower than usual due to the pandemic.

However, many of the participating charities have been “blown away” by the donations they’ve received. Here,  three  participating charities commented on the success of the campaign:

The  Peak  District  National  Park  Foundation’ s Fundraising Coordinator, Claire Barlow, commented: “We are delighted at the response our Big Give Christmas Challenge has had with our supporters. We are a relatively small charity, and this is the first time we have taken part in the challenge. But we smashed our £4,000 fundraising target after only 48 hours!

With the money raised we will fund planting of a climate change superhero – Sphagnum Moss – on the Peak District Moors. Happy Christ-moss!

The Bendrigg Trust’s Fundraising & Marketing Officer, Martha Wood, said: “The Big Give Christmas Challenge really did start off with a bang for Bendrigg Trust this year. Within just 3 and a half hours we had already smashed our £10,000 target – it was just unbelievable.

The generosity of donors this year has blown our minds. After such a turbulent year we were worried that people may not be able to afford to donate as much, but the way the challenge has gone so far, shows that people who are able to help, are giving more than ever before.

Donations made to Bendrigg will enable disabled people to have life changing outdoor adventures of a lifetime at our specialist outdoor centre. Without this financial aid, our participants would simply not be able to experience these amazing adventures.

Many charities have struggled financially during the Covid-19 pandemic, so the Big Give feels like an even bigger opportunity than ever before to raise much needed funds. Hopefully the funds raised will ensure charities are able to weather the storm and be here to provide vital services to our beneficiaries once the pandemic is over.”

Coach Core Foundation’s CEO Gary Laybourne, said: “This is the first time Coach Core Foundation have taken part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge and we’ve been absolutely blown away by the generosity of our wonderful supporters and members of the public!

2020 has been such a tough year for our young people. They’ve been hit hardest by furloughing and job losses but through The Big Give campaign, and our generous supporters, we have a vital opportunity to expand our work. We can help more young people access meaningful education and employment opportunities, whilst helping them become role-models and a positive influence in their local community.

For more information, visit  theBigGive.org.uk

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