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Unexpected Costs of Charity Fundraising

At some point most of us have sponsored a friend or colleague planning to perform a challenging feat, such as skydiving or abseiling down an office block, in order to raise money for a charity. However, these feats are challenging for a reason, coming with a significant health risk. News Blog reader Oyinlola Oyebode recently drew our attention to an interesting paper looking at the health cost of parachuting for charity.[1]

The authors looked at all parachute-related injuries at two local parachute centres over a five-year period, and found that 94% of the 174 recorded injuries were first-time parachutists being sponsored for charity. They estimated that this figure amounted to 11% of all charity parachutists over the period. Of this, 63% were admitted to hospital, giving a 7% rate of serious injury. Those admitted to hospital cost the NHS an average of £5,781, while the average cost for those treated as outpatients or in A&E was £265. Overall, the average cost per charity-parachutist injured was £3,751. Unfortunately, the average amount raised per person, after expenses, was £30, meaning that for each £1 raised for charity, the NHS spent £13.75 on healthcare.

Peter Chilton, Research Fellow


  1. Lee CT, Williams P, Hadden WA. Parachuting for charity: is it worth the money? A 5-year audit of parachute injuries in Tayside and the cost to the NHS. Injury Int J Care Injured. 1999; 30: 283-7.
Fri 24 Jan 2020, 14:00 | Tags: Hospital, Economics, Healthcare, Peter Chilton