Overview

  • The public sector is the second largest source of funding for small charities after the general public.
  • Small charities received £1,982m from the public sector in 2017/18.
  • Half of small charities receive no earned income from the public sector, but one-in-five received over half of their earned income from the public sector.
  • Government income to small charities has declined in real terms over a five-year period, but increased for those with an income over £100m.
  • Central government is the largest source of income for small charities, followed by local government.
  • How much income do small and medium-sized charities receive from government?

    • In 2017/18, small and medium-sized charities received a total income of £1,982m from the public sector.
    • This is the second highest source of income after the general public.
    • Small charities and medium-sized charities received 15% and 26% of their income from government.
    • Government income to small charities has declined in real terms over five years, from £2478.2m in 2013/14.

    How important is government income to small charities?

    • The picture is mixed – half of small charities received no earned income from the public sector.
    • One in five small charities received over half of their earned income from the public sector, and one in ten 75% or more.

    How has government funding changed by the size of charity over time?

    • Over the past five years, income from government has significantly declined for all charities, other than the very largest.
    • Medium-sized charities saw their income decline at the fastest rate.

    Which branch of government invests the most in small charities?

    • The majority of public investment in small charities comes from central government, with a similar level from local government.
    Insights

    Public services and small charities

    Explore data on how small charities deliver services on behalf of the public sector

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    Insights

    Grants and donations

    How do small charities fundraise from the general public and elsewhere?

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    Further reading

    NCVO 2020 UK Civil Society Almanac 2020

    New Philanthropy Capital 2020 State of the Sector 2020: The condition of charities before the Covid-19 crisis

    360 Giving (ND) Grantnav: search and download UK grants data

    Locality 2017 Powerful Communities, Strong Economies: The final report of the Keep it Local for Economic Resilience Action Research Project

    Locality 2016 Our Impact report 2016

    NFPSynergy 2016 Challenging cuts: Investigating the response of charities to frontline service cuts

    Lloyds Bank Foundation 2016 Commissioning in Crisis: How current contracting and procurement processes threaten the survival of small charities