I thought it would be interesting to look at how much of a presence different charities have in Parliament.
This is difficult to measure meaningfully, as communicating with MPs and Peers is about much more than what happens in public debates. And some Parliamentarians are more influential than others.
But I do think that looking at the number of times charities are mentioned in Parliament does give a useful finger in the air indicator of how they are engaging with Parliamentarians.
So I used Hansard to look at how many times some of the biggest fundraising charities were mentioned in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords during 2016.
I think the results are interesting, and I have listed below the 50 charities mentioned most often.
The first thing that stands out to me – and I wouldn’t necessarily have expected – is how often children’s charities are mentioned in Parliament. Save the Children and Unicef are the two mentioned most often, and five of the eight charities with the most mentions are focused on children.
I am also surprised that health charities do not feature more prominently in the top 20.
But perhaps the biggest message from the list below is that you don’t have to be a big charity to have a strong presence in Parliament.
There are some relatively small charities that are mentioned a lot and, conversely, some big ones I am surprised aren’t mentioned more.
|Charity||Number of Parliamentary mentions|
|1||Save the Children||134|
|5||Royal British Legion||87|
|10||Cancer Research UK||52|
|12||British Red Cross||46|
|17||Macmillan Cancer Support||30|
|24||Battersea Dogs and Cats||22|
|27||Help for Heroes||20|
|29||British Heart Foundation||18|
|33||Arthritis Research UK||13|
|37||Action for Children||10|
|37||Teenage Cancer Trust||10|
|40||Rethink mental illness||9|
|46||Guide Dogs UK||6|
|48||Breast Cancer Now||5|
These results should just be seen as an indicator, as they were arrived at using an online search of Hansard. Some charity mentions may have been missed because an abbreviation was used. Equally, there may have been occasions where the name of a charity was used but not as a reference to that charity. In some cases where charity names come up a lot in speeches (Mind, Crisis, and Shelter, for example), the charities were not included in the analysis.