Overview

  • In 2017/18, 23% of small charities reported having no reserves, in line with the voluntary sector average of 23%.
  • The majority of small charities (73%) reported that one of their main financial concerns is competing for limited grants and contracts.
  • Small charities with an income of £150k to £250k were most likely to be concerned about the risks facing their charities, with under a third (29%) perceiving them to be manageable.
  • Over a five year period between 14% and 29% of small charities reported that they did not have reserves.
  • The use of their reserves by small charities has fluctuated over a five year period between 27% and 44%.

What proportion of small charities have reserves?

  • In 2017/18, 23% of small charities did not have reserves, in line with a sector average of 23%.
  • 18% of charities with an income of £100k to £1m were without reserves.

What are the main financial concerns facing small charities?

  • The main three financial concerns facing small charities in 2017/18 were competition for limited grants and contracts (73%), generating donations from the public (62%), and a lack of sufficient reserves (42%).
  • Nearly a third of small charities (29%) also report over-dependence on a single income stream as one of their main financial concerns.
  • Between 2015 and 2017/18, competition for limited grants and contracts was the most commonly reported financial concern by small charities.

How do small charities perceive their organisations’ overall stability?

  • Charities with an income of £100k to £250k had the least confidence in the stability of their organisation, with just 29% reporting that any risks are manageable.
  • In 2016, charities with an income over £1m were most confident in the stability of their organisation, with nearly 90% reporting that risks to their organisation were manageable.

How has the likelihood of small charities having reserves changed over time?

  • Since 2014, between 14% and 29% of small charities reported that they did not have reserves.

How likely are small charities to use their reserves?

  • Since 2014, the proportion of small charities that have reported using their reserves in the previous quarter has fluctuated between 27% and 44%.
insights

Spending and assets

How much do small charities spend, and where? How does this compare to the rest of the sector?

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insights

Main sources of income for small charities

What sources make up small charities’ income? How do charities get their income?

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Further Reading

NCVO 2020 UK Civil Society Almanac 2020

Localgiving 2015-2017/18 Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Reports 2015, 2016, 2017/18

Locality 2016 Our Impact report 2016

Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) 2016 Small charities and social investment