Fundraising expenditure

We define fundraising expenditure as the costs incurred by a charity when individuals or third parties make contributions to it for its charitable purposes, and any other costs related to charitable fundraising. 

This includes the costs of:

  • staging events, including performance fees and licence fees;
  • seeking donations, grants and legacies;
  • operating membership schemes and social lotteries;
  • advertising, marketing and direct mail materials including publicity costs (not associated with educational material) designed wholly or mainly to further the charity’s purposes; and
  • contracting agents to raise funds on behalf of a charity.

We also include a relevant proportion of organisational overheads and support costs for governance, IT, finance, accommodation and HR.

Our definition includes the cost of all staff a charity employs to undertake fundraising activity. These staff can be engaged in public or private fundraising.

We exclude fundraising expenditure on trading activities, paying fees for investment advice or portfolio management.

Fundraising Levy

This definition will form the basis of our calculations for the annual Fundraising Levy. We will write to your organisation to ask it to contribute if its fundraising expenditure exceeds £100,000. 

There are more than 1,800 charities that pay the annual levy and fund the work we do to improve public trust and confidence in fundraising. These charities ensure the cost of regulation is borne collectively by the sector.

For more information about how much your organisation should pay, visit our large charity registration page.


Small charity registration is open to charities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that have a fundraising expenditure of less than £100,000 a year. For more information, visit our small charity registration page.

Organisations that are not charities such as commercial businesses, commercial participators and public interest bodies that fundraise can also apply to register with us. Non charities are charged a fee to register according to their annual turnover. For more information, visit our non charity registration page.