World's top charity donors

19 December 2019

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The publication of the annual "Giving List" by the business newspaper, City AM, has revealed that Novamedia – the creator and owner of the Postcode Lottery format – is Europe’s biggest private charity donor.

The list, which was compiled by independent researchers at nfpSynergy, also shows that Novamedia is the world’s second largest private charity funder. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation topped this year’s global list.

The global ranking shows the Gates Foundation donated $3.77 billion, followed by Novamedia / Postcode Lotteries, on $881.6 million. The Walton Family Foundation was third on $595.9 million.

The European list has the UK’s Wellcome Trust in second place on $579 million and Switzerland’s OAK Foundation in third place on $357.2 million.

The news comes just weeks after People’s Postcode Lottery, which operates in Britain, revealed that its players have now raised more than £500 million for charities and good causes since 2005.

Novamedia is a social enterprise, headquartered in Amsterdam, which uses its investments in lotteries, media and publishing to contribute to a fairer, greener world.

Clara Govier, Managing Director of People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “This research demonstrates the extraordinary success of the Postcode Lottery format.
“Charities across Britain and beyond are winning thanks to the support of our millions of players in England, Scotland and Wales.
“We are proud to be part of the Novamedia family and our sister lotteries in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Norway, are also performing strongly.
“Together, our players are helping to achieve positive change for people and planet.”

nfpSynergy, the researchers who compiled the Giving List, have called for greater transparency from major donors.

Joe Saxton, the founder of nfpSynergy, said: "Great effort has been made to take a clear and robust approach, using a consistent methodology over time to enable comparisons with the rankings which have been compiled for City AM each year since 2011.
"However, identifying the most generous institutional private charity donors around the globe in the financial year ending 2018 was by no means a straightforward task.
"As researchers, we would encourage institutional donors to be more transparent and open about sharing their financial data."

The Postcode Lottery format is an international success story with a unique concept at its heart – neighbours winning together. The format was launched in the Netherlands in 1989, to raise money for charitable organisations.

In 2005, the success of the Dutch Postcode Lottery prompted Novamedia to launch two more lotteries – People’s Postcode Lottery in Britain and Svenska PostkodLotteriet in Sweden.

People’s Postcode Lottery was first piloted in the north of England. Three years later, in 2008, it was launched in Scotland and since 2010 it has been operating throughout Britain.

In 2016, the Deutsche Postcode Lotterie was launched throughout Germany, followed by the Norsk Postkodelotteri in Norway in 2018.

View the full Giving List and the methodology.