Ten Percent Legal Recruitment

10 Percent Campaign

The Ten Percent Campaign

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  1. Remove excessive executive pay from the charity sector.
  2. Encourage more companies to donate a percentage of their profits to charity.

Welcome to the Ten Percent Campaign. We have been donating 10% of our profits to charity every year since 2000. We campaign to get more businesses to follow suit and donate a percentage of their profits to charity, but at the same time work to highlight the glaring problem with charitable giving today:- the way charities have been industrialised. Why should a pensioner on less than £150 a week give £5 to a charity, completely unaware that the charity pays its’ chief executive £200,000? We analyse accounts of charities submitted to the Charity Commission to show the varying degrees of remuneration across a range of charities.

Stop Charities spending too much on Staff Salaries

November 2016 – sign our petition to Parliament to restrict charity paying staff no more than three times the average wage

Petition heading: “Remove status from charities paying staff more than 3 times the average wage. Charities in the UK should have their charitable status removed if they pay any of their staff more than three times the average wage. Why should a pensioner on less than £150 a week give £5 to a charity that pays a CEO £200k? In 2016-2017 three times the average wage is £82,500. Many get more. By way of examples – Parkinson’s UK has 10 staff earning between £60,000 and £130,000, The Royal British Legion has 26 staff earning between £60,000 and £160,000, Help for Heroes has 17 staff earning between £60,000 and £110,000 and Cancer Research UK has 219 staff earning between £60,000 and £250,000.”

One of our main aims is to encourage charities to avoid paying their staff salaries which appear to be many times the national average. Charities should be about giving. We fear that they can be about taking; taking liberties with the generosity of the general public and taking money from charitable giving to pay their staff. We should like to encourage charities to pay their chief executives at a maximum level of perhaps 3 times the average annual salary in the UK. In 2016 this is estimated to be £27,500 per annum.

Charity Salaries Table

CharityExecutives earning £60,000+Maximum Amount earned2018 - Executives earning £60,000+2018 - Maximum Amount earned
Age UK47£190,00046£170,000
Amnesty International5£100,00012£110,000
BBC Children in Need7£120,0006£130,000
British Heart Foundation54£180,00072£180,000
British Red Cross39£180,00056£180,000
Cancer Research UK219£250,000188£250,000
Christian Aid15£130,00020£109,999
Citizens Advice32£145,67444£148,602
Citizens UK Charity (The Living Wage Foundation)1£80,0002£70,000
Concern Worldwide2£80,0004£80,000
Consumers Association (Which?)82£350,000122 (2017-2018 accounts not working)£470,000
Help for Heroes17£110,00021£130,000
Leonard Cheshire Disability21£150,00037£160,000
Macmillan Cancer Support75£170,000125£190,000
Marie Curie Cancer Care41£170,00062£170,000
Médecins Sans Frontières1£73,0003£80,000
Parkinson's UK10£130,00014£130,000
Prostate Cancer UK10£100,00013£120,000
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)28£150,00054£169,000
Save the Children International375£325,000394£300,000
SSAFA - The Armed Forces Charity8£120,00021£140,000
St John Ambulance36£150,00026£150,000
The Howard League for Penal Reform3£110,0003£100,000
The Royal British Legion26£160,00038£149,999
The Salvation Army25£150,00036£150,000
VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas)30£150,00026£160,000
War Child2£90,0005£109,999
Water Aid22£130,00031£140,000
Table showing the amount and number of executives at a charity earning over £60,000 per annum. These figures have been taken from the Charity Commission website and are from annual returns for 2015 and 2016 (a few are 2014). These are for charities we have contemplated donating to and are not in any particular order. The only charity we have found to date with a published remuneration policy of paying the most senior staff approximately 3 times the lowest salaried member of staff is Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

We wrote an article a few years ago – http://legalrecruitment.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/overpaid-charity-ceos-top-20-of-highest.html which has attracted considerable comment. This really touches a raw nerve for a lot of people – why give to charity when you are funding a rather nice lifestyle for a director of marketing or a chief executive? In 2016 we undertook a study before deciding on which charities to donate to ourselves and examined the accounts of a number of charities in some detail. The report can be found here: https://ten-percent.co.uk/choosing-charities-to-donate-money-to-without-supporting-high-salaries-costs.pdf

Newspaper headlines have followed.

  • 26th February 2015 The Daily Telegraph – 32 charity bosses paid over £200,000 last year
  • 17th December 2015 International Business Times – More than a thousand UK charity employees are paid six-figure salaries
  • 7th June 2015 Daily Express – Outrage as charity bosses pocket six-figure salaries from generous public donations

Here are some common examples of larger sized charities attracting considerable support, together with any suggestions for alternative charities in the same fields. We have taken the figures from the Charity Commission website where annual accounts are filed by every charity in the UK. Finding some of the information takes quite a bit of time and effort. Not really something you can do in the street when someone is shaking a tin under your nose..

Parkinson’s Disease – vital support needed?

First up is support for fighting Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s is a horrible disease – I have seen it first hand. One of our trustees suffered for years.

Parkinson’s UK – 10 Staff Earning between £60,000 and £130,000

The main charity for Parkinson’s Disease is Parkinson’s UK. This is a well regarded charity, but one with the following points arising from their accounts in 2015:

      1. They received £11.19 million in legacies and £9.54 million in donations.
      2. They gave research grant money of £5.3 million to institutions and £588k to fund Parkinson’s nurses.
      3. Salaries, pensions and national insurance payments at the charity were £11.56 million.
      4. The charity has 350 staff. Out of these 25 are employed to look at better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s.
      5. 10 senior members of staff earned £60-£130k. In addition to this the charity paid out £70k in pension contributions for these 10 staff. Total amount paid to the senior staff was £744,550.

This means that from the £20’ish million the charity received in donations & legacies about 3.6% was paid out to 10 members of staff. NB: Teresa Forgione, Head of Philanthropy at Parkinson’s UK, responded to our request for a statement regarding the pay of the senior team, and her response can be found here – https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=36839305&postID=3207980881259529512

A Smaller Alternative? The Cure Parkinson’s Trust – 0 Staff Earning above £60,000

The Cure Parkinson’s Trust is smaller in size and appears to aim to do what it says on the tin; cure Parkinson’s. They had the following accounts for 2015:

  1. They received £2.02 million in donations and legacies.
  2. The charity spent £1.16 million on research funding and education.
  3. Grants to research institutes were £672k.
  4. Salaries at the charity were £425k.
  5. No members of staff earned more than £60k.

The charity’s website is https://www.cureparkinsons.org.uk/

Support to the Armed Forces

The Royal British Legion – 26 staff earning between £60,000 and £160,000

The Royal British Legion has the aim to “help members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families all year round. We also campaign to improve their lives, organise the Poppy Appeal and remember the fallen.” On their website the charity refers to its’ ‘brand’ and talks about updating its look. We have noted the following points from their accounts in 2015:

  1. They received £29.3 million in donations, £18 million in legacies and £48.5 million from the Poppy Appeal.
  2. The charity gave £22.2 million to support care homes and welfare break centres.
  3. Grants to individuals, other organisations and branches came to £44.33 million.
  4. In 2015 the charity spent £37.81 million on staff costs, plus £3.39 million on agency staff. They employ 1,507 staff.
  5. 26 members of staff earned between £60k and £160k. The cost of pensions to these staff was £194k.
  6. The highest earning member of staff earned between £150,000 and £160,000. We assume this was the chairman.
  7. The accounts do not indicate enough data to show what percentage of donations and legacies goes towards paying the 26 senior members of staff, but using the bands in the accounts they must earn at least £2.14 million plus £194k in pension contributions.
  8. This means that the top 26 members of staff are paid 4.27% of the total amount the charity receives in donations, legacies and the Poppy Appeal. In fact, by way of comparison, they are paid 4.8% of the total amount the Poppy Appeal generates for The British Legion.

Alternatives for Support to the Armed Forces – Scotty’s Little Soldiers – 0 staff earning more than £60,000

We looked at the following charities:

  • SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity – 8 staff earning between £60,000 and £120,000
  • Help for Heroes – support for wounded forces personnel – 17 staff earning between £60,000 and £110,000.
  • Combat Stress – the veterans’ mental health charity – 9 staff earning between £60,000 and £170,000

We then stumbled across this website. Scotty’s Little Soldiers provides support for bereaved British Armed Forces children of armed forces personnel – 0 staff earning over £60,000. This charity was set up by an Army widow following the death of her husband in Afghanistan in 2009. The charity defines its provisions as “support offered to the children including fun activities such as holiday breaks and group events, personal development assistance through educational grants and access to professional bereavement counselling. Their website is www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk

Cancer Research – Important for all of us

Cancer research is a vital area of charitable giving to us all, being that 1 in 2 of us born since 1960 will be diagnosed with it at some point in our lives. There are a multitude of charities in this sector, with the largest and best known being Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK – 219 staff earning between £60,000 and £250,000

  • Cancer Research UK had a total income of £634 million in 2015.
  • £169 million of this came from legacies, £121.6 million from donations, £104 million from fundraising and £4.6 million via their shops.
  • The charity employs 3,964 employees, with 2,062 of these being in fundraising.
  • 219 employees earn between £60,000 and £250,000. These figures include a number of scientists so slightly different to a lot of other charities we look at.
  • 3,000 scientists were awarded grants by Cancer Research UK in 2015.
  • The Chief Executive of the charity in 2015 was paid £240,000-£250,000 in 2015.
  • The charity indicate in their annual review that “while the Charity recognises that it should not and does not compete directly with the private sector on remuneration, its success in recruitment is strongly correlated to the breadth, interest and diversity attaching to its roles.”
  • The salaries of the executive officers is determined by a committee. The committee is made up of the chairman and two trustees. In 2015 the chairman was the former chief executive of Syngenta, a multi-billion pound agrochemical company. One of the trustees is a solicitor and former partner of Allen & Overy LLP, an international law firm who paid out between £0.71 million and £2.88 million to their partners in 2015. The other trustee is a hospital consultant.

Alternative Cancer Charities – North West Cancer Research – 0 staff earning more than £60,000

We looked at a few of these with brief comments below:

  • World Cancer Research Fund – supporting research around the world into cancer. £4 million in donations, £1.79 million in legacies. £2 million salaries, 57 staff (9 in research) and 1 member of staff earning £70-80,000 plus a £3,700 pension contribution.
  • Yorkshire Cancer Research – funding cancer research in Yorkshire. £5.2 million in donations, £11.56 million in legacies. 24 staff, £0.88 million salaries, 1 member of staff earning £90,000-£100,0000 plus a £9,680 pension contribution.
  • Macmillan Cancer Support – providing practice, medical & financial support and campaigning for better cancer care. £63.8 million in legacies, £151 million in donations. The charity has 629 fundraising staff and 941 staff working towards charitable purposes. 75 staff earn between £60,000 and £170,000 plus £272,000 in pension contributions to these staff. 

North West Cancer Researchwww.nwcr.org – incorporates Clatterbridge Cancer Research. They support and fund research into cancer in North Wales and the North West. In 2015 they received £852,000 in legacies and £591,000 from charitable activities. They had 9 employees and 0 members of staff were paid more than £60,000.

BBC Children in Need

The BBC Children in Need charity is one of the best known charities in the UK and is the beneficiary of the annual telethon live on BBC 1. In fact I write this on the day of Children in Need in 2016!

Here are some facts about the charity taken from its accounts:

  • The charity makes grants to voluntary projects, community groups and registered charities in the UK. It does not run projects itself.
  • In 2014 the charity received £10.6 million from fundraising events, £13 million from donations to the appeal show and £13.2 million from BBC events – eg the Chris Evans auctions.
  • The charity makes grants to applicants – main grants in excess of £10,000 per year for up to 3 years and then smaller grants for a year at a time – £10,000 or less. They also undertake proactive funding for specific projects. They do not support charities over long periods of time.
  • In 2015 the charity was supporting around 2,500 projects at any one time.
  • The charity runs an office in Salford after relocating there in 2015.
  • BBC Children in Need have some of the most comprehensive accounts published by any charities. Some are hard to obtain figures from, but these are quite open.
  • In 2015 the charity received an income of just over £56 million including £46.47 million in donations.
  • Grants were made of £53.69 million.
  • The charity employs 96 staff members. Salaries cost the charity £4.56 million.
  • 7 members of staff receive salaries of between £60,000 and £120,000 per year. Total amount paid to senior staff is £520,000 minimum plus pension contributions.
  • Due to the very open nature of the accounts, it is possible to see that the charity employs 43 members of staff on salaries of £20,000-29,000, 27 on salaries of £30,000-£39,000 and 17 on salaries from £40,000-£49,000. It is not clear whether these salaries will fall now that the charity has relocated to Salford.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a Christian charity working with homeless people, people in poverty, children and families, through their churches and centres.

  • In 2015 the charity (the trust and its subsidiaries) employed 25 members of staff on salaries of more than £60,000. 3 of these members of staff were paid £120,000 to £150,000. Pensions contributions during this financial year for the 25 staff members totalled £161,635.
  • The charity (the trust and its subsidiaries) spends over £74 million on personnel costs each year.
  • The charity’s headquarters are situated in London SE1.

Medecins Sans Frontieres

Medecins Sans Frontieres is the world’s leading emergency medical humanitarian aid organisation. Unlike a lot of other charities they actually publish their salary policy in their accounts. It is as follows:

  • Salary Policy
    “The policy for remuneration of all staff, including senior managers, is decided by the Board of Trustees. The policy sets out a framework for staff remuneration which includes comparing salaries against mid-market pay levels in the UK charity sector, bearing in mind MSF UK’s  size  and  office  location,  in  order  to  set  a  level  that  is modest yet broadly competitive.  This  is  in  keeping  with  MSF’s  focus  on  maximising  the  use  of  funds  for  frontline work. In accordance with this policy, the Executive Director of MSF UK receives a salary of £73,000 per annum. This is slightly more than three times the salary of our lowest paid office worker. Other members of the management team receive salaries between £50,000 and £70,000.”
  • The charity has three members of staff earning between £60,000 and £80,000 per annum.
  • There are 172 full time equivalent staff members at the charity.
  • Income for 2015 was £42.7 million.

It is really refreshing to see a charity publish their salary policy and also to be looking to keep the executive pay to about three times the salary of the lowest paid office worker. Note the turnover of Medecins Sans Frontieres compared with some of the other charities employing a large number of staff on much higher salaries. 

Water Aid

Water Aid aim to get clean water to communities around the world. They work with other charities and organisations to provide solutions in third world countries.

  • The charity has 743 full time equivalent staff. Out of these, 528 are international programmes staff.
  • Income generated in 2015 was £83.6 million.
  • The charity has 22 members of staff earning between £60,000 and £130,000.
  • Pension contributions to these 22 members of staff were £164,833.
  • The Chief Executive of WaterAid received £128,223 in 2015. In 2014 he or she received £124,488.


How much difference can we make if we donate 10% of our annual profits to charity?

Jonathan Fagan, Legal Career Coach, MD Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment
Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited

This was the question we asked when setting up Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. The answer is probably not a huge amount but possibly quite a difference if everyone else did the same, particularly any large corporations who don’t pay any tax at all!

When we set up the company back in April 2000, a lot of people asked us why we would want to donate money to charity and what financial benefit the company gets out of it. At the time I rather naively assumed that we would increase our business as law firms recognised our generosity and philanthropic gestures. I also thought that charities would welcome our money with open arms and send us lengthy letters of gratitude.

Alas the reality of giving is much different. Firstly, in order to give money to charity, you have to make money. Our staff need money to live on, we need cash to survive as a business and the charitable donation has been the last thing on our minds during lean years. It took four years after 2008 for us to catch up again with the donations.

Secondly, I don’t think that much business at all has come our way by virtue of our generosity! We did a bit of research some years ago and most solicitors’ firms were distinctly unimpressed with our charitable donations. Some suggested we should charge less rather than donate and others indicated to us that it made no difference at all as to which recruitment agency they chose to use. It is certainly true that most business comes our way because we are good at the things we do and have a reputation in the market generally.

Thirdly, donating to charities in the UK is not the easiest or most gratifying thing to do. Over the past 15 years I have lost track of the times I have got in touch with a charity to say that we wished to donate money to them only for some hurdle to be put in our way or a distinct lack of anything bordering on gratitude was detected! My best example is from WaterAid many years ago, who wanted to charge us a fee to put their logo onto our website after we had offered to donate £2,500 to a specific project in Africa.

So why continue? Well, thanks to my enthusiasm at founding a company called Ten-Percent, we are a little bit stuck doing something that involves ‘Ten-Percent’. Although our recruitment fees are expressed in a percentage, we could not survive if we were indeed charging ten percent fees. Over the years we have been very tempted to change the name in order to get away from making the donation, but we have perservered..

It still seems the right thing to do. The directors of Ten Percent Legal like to think of themselves as ethical entrepreneurs. I have no religious or moral convictions regarding charitable donations. I am just aware that life is short, more so for some than others, and anything I can do personally will satisfy my urge to leave a positive contribution on planet earth for generations to come. Are we mad? Quite possibly. But the company is still trading after 15 years of donations; and there are still spaces on the wall where I haven’t headbutted it each time we make the transfer of hard earned money across to the charitable trust.

So who else donates profits to charity? More importantly, who ought to donate to charity?

GamelyGamely are a family run party games company founded by Hazel Reynolds and based in Brighton. Since Hazel started Gamely back in 2015 they've been giving away 10% of profits to charity each year. To date (May 2023) they have donated over £100,000. Charities Gamely have supported include Play Action International, Sanku - Project Healthy Children, Evidence Action and Living Goods. Several of the charities they support are recommended by Peter Singer's organisation The Life You Can Save.
Innocent DrinksInnocent Drinks donate 10% of their annual profits to charity.
white stuffWhite Stuff donate at least 1% of annual profits to charity.
babylogo1Beaming Baby donate 10% of their profits to charity. Based in Totnes in Devon.
compass culturaCompass Cultura is an online magazine promoting paid journalism. They donate 50% of their profits to charity.
chobaniChobani donate 10% of their profits to charity.
newmansownPaul Newman's food company donates 100% of profits to charity and has done so since 1982.
primulaPrimula Cheese is owned by the Kavli Trust which solely exists to distribute profits made to charity.
1percentThe One Percent Campaign is an Irish effort linked to the Irish Philanthropy Organisation. The aim is to get everyone in Ireland to donate 1% of their time or their money to a specific charity.
jomaticonllp_logoThe Jomati Foundation is primarily funded by Jomati Consultants LLP which has undertaken to donate 5% of its fee income to The Jomati Foundation each year. It is a relatively small charity focussing primarily on legal education and access to justice projects. They provide direct bursaries to law students and a range of charities and other organisations involved in legal education. We also fund a range of charities focussing on access to justice issues.
See Your City Walking ToursSee Your City is a Walking Tours company in York, London and Edinburgh. It donates 10% profits to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
KarmagawaKarmagawa is an clothing company founded that donates a 80% of its profits to charity. And the other 20% is used for funding its operations and influencer trips that raise awareness of their efforts to help charities that build schools, saving animals from poaching and creating documentaries such as 50 Minutes to Save the World to raise public awareness about important global issues.
SalesforceSalesforce a cloud computing pioneer has a 1-1-1 philanthropic model which donates 1% of revenue, 1% of product and 1% of employees’ time to the community.

Any more? Tell us about them and we will put them on this site.

Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director – Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment.