Top 50 charities on Facebook

Following last week’s list of the charities with the most Twitter followers, I’ve compiled the list below of the 50 charities with the most Facebook likes.

The first thing that stands out is the sheer scale of charites’ presence on Facebook. There are three with more than 1 million Facebook likes, and a massive 32 with audiences of more than 200,000.

This is all much bigger than for Twitter, though this isn’t surprising given that Facebook is used by lots more people.

One thing that did surprise me is that the charities with big Facebook followings don’t necessarily also have a big presence on Twitter. Just five that make the top 10 below also feature in top 10 for Twitter followers.

Looking at individual charities, Cancer Research UK is way out in front. Not only does it have the biggest audience with 1.4 million likes, but it has seen a much biggest increase in that audience (104,916) since the start of the year.

Other charities seeing impressive increases in the last nine months include the National Trust (with 76,741 more likes than in January); Alzheimer’s Society (up 64,095); RSPB (up 61,792); and BHF (up 54,592).

There is also some big growth in audiences further down the list. Leonard Cheshire’s 14,851 extra likes since January represents a massive 56.6% increase, while Prostate Cancer UK has grown its audience by 31.7% over the same period.

It is also worth noting that you don’t have to be one of the biggest charities to have a big Facebook audience: two of the top 10 – IFAW UK and Breast Cancer Now – have an annual income of under £30 million.

Facebook likes
  1. Cancer Research UK, 1,465,460
  2. BBC Children in Need, 1,024,193
  3. Dog’s Trust, 1,007,775
  4. Macmillan Cancer Support, 701,352
  5. IFAW UK, 694,955
  6. Breast Cancer Now, 643,167
  7. Royal British Legion, 635,002
  8. National Trust, 629,710
  9. Help for Heroes, 627,378
  10. RSPCA, 612,646
  11. Battersea Dogs and Cats, 607,621
  12. Marie Curie, 604,123
  13. Cats Protection, 479,482
  14. BHF, 442,643
  15. Save the Children, 440,094
  16. WWF, 391,398
  17. Amnesty UK, 375,457
  18. NSPCC, 355,581
  19. Alzheimer’s Society, 353,985
  20. Oxfam, 336,153
  21. Woodland Trust, 332,961
  22. RNLI, 331,885
  23. Donkey Sanctuary, 316,879
  24. Unicef UK, 316,745
  25. Blue Cross, 295,852
  26. Rethink Mental Illness, 295,549
  27. Mind, 293,041
  28. RSPB, 275,583
  29. Islamic Relief UK, 271,182
  30. British Red Cross, 270,225
  31. Great Ormond Street, 268,781
  32. PDSA, 243,882
  33. Age UK, 183,267
  34. Teenage Cancer Trust, 179,926
  35. Guide Dogs, 154,533
  36. Breast Cancer Care, 148,802
  37. Diabetes UK, 143,848
  38. Shelter, 130,322
  39. Muslim Aid UK, 124,628
  40. RAF Benevolent Fund, 122,308
  41. Blind Veterans UK, 114,937
  42. Salvation Army, 106,997
  43. World Animal Protection, 103,384
  44. Worldwide Cancer Research, 102,268
  45. ABF (the soldier’s charity), 96,410
  46. Comic Relief, 96,304
  47. Stonewall, 94,732
  48. National Trust for Scotland, 90,975
  49. Wateraid, 89,162
  50. Anthony Nolan, 88,613

As always, it’s worth saying that looking at number of Facebook likes is only ever a finger in the air and comes with some big caveats. Not only is it a single (and sometimes misleading) measure of success, but some charities mayhave causes and audiences that make it easier to build a big following than others. Also, the results are likely to be at least partly due to the resources – both staff and non-staff –committed to it.

The list of charities was based on the Charity Financials list of the top 100 fundraising charities, not including charities that were more cultural institutions than fundraising charities (eg Tate Britain and the National Gallery) or those without a significant social media presence. I also added nine charities not in the Charity Financials list that have a famous brand or big social media presence. Data was recorded on October 1, 2017.

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