The Big Give

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The Big Give
Founded2007 (2007)
FounderSir Alec Reed
Registration no.1136547
  • Dragon Court 27-29 Macklin street, Strand, London WC2B 5LX
MethodOnline match funding; showcasing charities; connecting charities with supporters
9,987 registered charities
Key people
Trustees: Alexandra Chapman, Sir Alec Reed, James Reed, Richard Reed, Martin Warnes[1]
£800.9K (March 2018)[2]

The Big Give is a non-profit, charitable website that enables donors to find and support charity projects in their field of interest. Its main activity is online match funding campaigns, where public donations are matched by donations from philanthropists. Since it began in 2008, the charity has raised over £112 million for thousands of charity projects, including over £2 million for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.[3][4] It is registered with the Fundraising Regulator.[5]


The Big Give was founded in October 2007 by Sir Alec Reed CBE. Reed is the founder of employment agency Reed along with several international charities. He is chairman of the Reed Foundation.

Reed established the Big Give after growing frustrated at the process of finding and assessing charities of interest to him. He used his experience of compiling searchable websites to create an online database of charities, browsable by sector and including detailed information about their structure and accounts.[6]

The organisation's initial aim was to connect charities with wealthy individuals seeking to donate £100,000 or more, but charities found that donors were deterred by the high minimum donation. After lobbying Reed for a smaller donation threshold, Reed decided to experiment with time-limited match funding, saying: "There is nothing like a deadline to bring out people's competitive nature."[6]

In 2008, the Big Give ran the Christmas Challenge - its flagship online match funding campaign - for the first time. Reed put up £1 million of his own money in match funding. It was matched by other donors within 45 minutes.[7] Since then the Christmas Challenge format has been refined and along with an increase in both the number of philanthropist 'Champions' and the amount of match funds available, it has become the UK's largest online match funding campaign.

Fundraising activities[edit]

The Big Give Christmas Challenge[edit]

The Big Give Christmas Challenge runs for seven days from #GivingTuesday, during which time donations to participating charities are doubled. The match funding used to double donations comes from both philanthropic partners of the Big Give ('Champions') and a charity's own major supporters ('Pledgers'). Champions include The Reed Foundation, The Childhood Trust, Candis, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The People’s Postcode Lottery and The Waterloo Foundation.[8]

Each charity has a ring-fenced matching pot used to double public donations until the pot is empty or until the Christmas Challenge ends, whichever is sooner.[9] The Big Give has run the Christmas Challenge every year since 2008. It provides special awards for the best performing charities; in 2017 the overall winner was Aurora Orchestra.[10]

Year Activities
2008 £2 million raised in 45 minutes for 240 charities.[7] The Reed Foundation was given a Third Sector Award for Innovation in Fundraising in recognition of the success of this challenge.[11]
2009 £8.5 million raised, beating a target of £6 million and benefiting 174 charities. Fundraising from the challenge period was doubled by a fund of £1.5 million from the Reed Foundation and additional funds from trustees and major donors.[6]
2010 The Big Give hosted its launch party for the Christmas Challenge at Fortnum & Mason's London store. Attendees raised £80,000 in one night.[6][12] £9.3 million was raised for 323 charities; donations from the public were doubled by a number of sponsors, including Arts & Business, Reed Specialist Recruitment, Reed Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Candis Magazine and Ethiopiaid.[6][13][14]
2011 £12 million raised for 424 charities[15][13]
2012 Raised over £10 million for 350 charities,[13][16] including £4 million raised in a two-hour period.[17]
2013 £11 million raised for 387 charities. Online donations were processed at a peak of 390 transactions per minute.[18][19] The UK Cabinet Office joined as a Charity Champion, alongside Reed Foundation, Candis Magazine, ICAP, Ethiopiaid and the Garfield Weston Foundation[20]
2014 £11 million raised for 367 charities.[21][22] The initiative was recognised at the UK Charity Awards, with the Big Give winning the Fundraising Technology Category.[23]
2015 £7.1 million raised for 258 different charities, including 1,192 donations made in the first five minutes, worth £2.5 million.[24][25]
2016 £7.2 million for 332 charities across 17,000 donations
2017 £11.3 million for 528 charities across 29,000 donations[26]
2018 £13.3 million for 589 charities. The average donation was £175 and over 35,000 people donated.[27][8]

Grenfell Tower fire[edit]

The charity raised over £2.6m in an online match funding campaign for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. The appeal raised £1 million in the first 48 hours and £2m a week later. In total the appeal raised £2,612,646. The Charity reported funding from the Reed Foundation, The Cadogan Estate, Julia and Hans Rausing and The Bjorgolfsson Family among others.[28]

Emergency Appeals[edit]

The Big Give has adapted its match funding model to emergency appeals, which are launched quickly and in coordination with the Disasters Emergency Committee to raise money.[29] Emergency Challenge Funds have been launched in response to the Syria Crisis, typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal, and other international emergencies.[13][19][30] In October 2017 £232,446 was raised for Rohingya refugees escaping violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The funds were distributed to seven charities working directly with Rohingya refugees, including the British Red Cross and UNICEF UK.

The Summer Give[edit]

Since 2015, the Big Give has used its match funding model to run an annual Summer Give campaign in partnership with The Childhood Trust. The Summer Give offers match funding to charities that work to alleviate the impact of poverty on children in London, specifically aiming to keep them well-fed, safe and productively engaged during the summer holidays. It has helped over 87,658 children through partnerships with over 150 projects throughout London.[31][32] In 2017, the Summer Give raised £778,680 for 36 participating charities.[33]

Other activities[edit]

Philanthropy in Schools[edit]

The Big Give's 'Philanthropy in Schools' programme seeks to encourage the next generation of philanthropists by promoting research into charities and charitable donations. Participating schools partner with a sponsor who funds Big Give vouchers which students donate to their chosen charities. Students compete to make the best presentation on their preferred charities; the winning presentation team receives an additional donation to its chosen charity.[34][35][36]

The Big Give Trustee Finder[edit]

The Big Give Trustee Finder advertises vacancies for charitable trusts, organised by skill, interest and location.[37] In 2013 the service was extended to feature vacancies on the Reed website for six weeks.[38]

The Big Advice Column[edit]

In 2012 The Big Give introduced an online advice column, The Big Advice Column, where a team of experts answer questions posed by charities.[7]


  1. ^ "Contact and trustees". The Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Improvements announced for The Big Give's Christmas Challenge match-funding campaign | UK Fundraising". UK Fundraising. 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Only four digital fundraising platforms registered with regulator". Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  6. ^ a b c d e Sir Alec, Reed (2012). I Love Mondays: The autobiography of Sir Alec Reed CBE. Profile Books. ISBN 978-1846685163.
  7. ^ a b c "History - The Big Give". The Big Give. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  8. ^ a b "Big Give Christmas Challenge 2018". 4 December 2018.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Christmas Challenge awards winners announced | UK Fundraising". UK Fundraising. 2018-02-28. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  11. ^ "Reed Foundation wins innovation award for £2m matched funding challenge". Philanthropy Impact. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  12. ^ "The Big Give announces Royal Wedding Challenge fund | Philanthropy Impact". Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  13. ^ a b c d "Timeline - The Big Give". The Big Give. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  14. ^ "The Big Give Christmas Challenge raises £6 million in two days". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  15. ^ "Big Give to double donations to 423 charities this week". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  16. ^ "350 charities take part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2012". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  17. ^ "No trouble for Big Give challenge this year » Charity Digital News". Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  18. ^ "The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2013 - The Big Give". The Big Give. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  19. ^ a b "The Big Give | Digital Giving | Grow Your Charity Online". Tech4Good Awards. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  20. ^ "The Cabinet Office supports the Big Give Christmas Challenge - The Big Give". The Big Give. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  21. ^ "Over £11m raised in The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2014 | Charities Trust". Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  22. ^ "The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2014 - The Big Give". The Big Give. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  23. ^ Matt, Ritchie. "2014 Charity Times Awards winners announced". Charity Times. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  24. ^ "The Big Give Christmas Challenge has nailed it this year » Charity Digital News". Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  25. ^ "The Big Give Christmas Challenge raises over £6.4m in first three days". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  26. ^ Reed, James (2018-04-24). "The business of giving: Why corporate philanthropy is more than just good PR". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  27. ^ News, Melanie May on 6 December 2018 in (2018-12-06). "Big Give Christmas Challenge raises record £13.3m". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  28. ^ "Grenfell match funding appeal raises £2.6m » Charity Digital News". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  29. ^ "Emergency Appeals - The Big Give". The Big Give. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  30. ^ "The Big Give launches Nepal match fund appeal » Charity Digital News". Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  31. ^ Clark, Austin (2018-03-12). "Summer Give 2018 details released". Charity Digital News. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  32. ^ "The Big Give announces The Summer Give matched funding campaign". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Philanthropy in Schools - The Big Give". The Big Give. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  35. ^ "Learning by doing". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  36. ^ Espinoza, Javier. "Teach Your Children (How to Give) Well". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  37. ^ "The Big Give launches trustee matching service". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  38. ^ "Big Give offers trustee finder service". UK Fundraising. Retrieved 2015-12-21.

External links[edit]