How we spend your money

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Read about the progress we’ve made against cancer in the past year thanks to your support, and our objectives and aims for the future.

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We work tirelessly to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured, but we can only do this thanks to the generosity of our supporters, volunteers and partners. Our annual report sets out everything we’ve achieved together over the past year, and how we spent the money we received to achieve it. It's available for everyone to download, but if you're looking for a quick breakdown of where your donation goes, this page has got you covered.

photo of Michelle Mitchell
“After weathering one of the most difficult periods in our history, we’ve come out the other side with renewed hope and optimism. We’re ready to embark on a new chapter – one in which we bring about a world where everyone can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer. To everybody who has supported us over the past year, thank you. I know that with your support, we can make this vision a reality.”
      - Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive

Our income

In 2021/22, we raised a total of £668m. We couldn’t have done this without our amazing supporters, volunteers and campaigners. 

This includes:   

  • £426m from donated income, including £206m from legacies 

  • £117m from trading activities such as our shops 

  • £17m from our portfolio of investments 

  • £108m from royalties and grants, including our share of sales from innovations developed from our research. 

Income infographic

Our expenditure

Every pound is important, so we think very carefully about where we spend our income and what we commit our money to. 

We committed £471m of our income towards our charitable activities. 

  • We committed £443m towards cancer research projects that will run for up to five years. 

  • We spent £28m on information and influencing work 

We also invested £152m in raising funds, including:  

  • £102m raising donated income and managing our investments. 

  • £93m running our shops and other trading activity.

Expenditure infographic
Annual research activity infographic
Annual spend infographic

Pence in the pound

Spending infographic

For every pound of income from donations, investments and royalties, 81p was available to beat cancer. The amount available varies from year to year, but we aim to keep it around the 80p mark. 

In 2021/22, donations available to beat cancer reduced by 7% to 81p in every £1. This was mainly due to a decrease in legacy income, alongside higher expenditure during the year as our fundraising activity started to return to pre-pandemic levels. As such, 81p represents a return to our historic levels of achievement.  

We don’t include our trading activities in this calculation, as our shops operate like other retail businesses, raising funds through selling merchandise. This also allows donors to see the true impact of their donation and allows them to compare us with other charities that do not have retail shops.

CEO and staff salaries

We know it’s important for our supporters to know how we spend your donations, and that we’re transparent in all areas of our work. That’s why we’ve shared details of our CEO’s salary on our website. 

Our Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, was paid £247,100 base salary between April 2021 and March 2022. 

The Chief Executive’s salary increase is due to a return to pre-pandemic levels, following a temporary reduction of 20% for part of 2020/21 in response to fundraising losses caused by COVID-19.  

As the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research, and a leading medical research organisation, it’s essential that we attract and retain the best staff so we can achieve our vision of beating cancer. The salaries we pay reflect individual responsibilities and performance, whilst ensuring the best use of our supporters’ donations for research.   

We employ people who make a real difference and will help us achieve our vision of a world where everyone can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer. For a more detailed breakdown of staff pay at Cancer Research UK, please see page 105 of our Annual Report and Accounts.


Supporting documents

We are committed to supporting high-quality cancer research that will have the greatest impact for patients and help save more lives. The host institution list is an analysis of grant costs by host institution which forms part of our audited accounts.

Download a list of institutes that we fund

Some of our scientists both serve on our grant-making committees and lead research projects that receive grant funding from Cancer Research UK during the year.

Teams of experts collaborate with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, along with the research community, to translate scientific discoveries into cutting-edge therapies. You can find out more on how we partner with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies here.

Our previous annual reports