Overview

  • In 2017/18, small charities’ total income was £9.5bn, equating to 18% of the overall income in the voluntary sector.
  • Over a five-year period, small charities have experienced a year-on-year decline in the amount and proportion of their income as a share of the voluntary sectors’ overall income.
  • The largest source of income is from the general public, which amounted to just over half (51%) of their total income in 2017/18.

What is the amount and proportion of income by charity size?

  • In 2017/18, small charities accounted for nearly one-fifth (18%) of the overall income of the voluntary sector.

What sources make up small charities’ income?

  • In 2017/18, small charities’ total income was £9.5bn.
  • The largest source of small charities’ income is from the general public, which amounts to over half (£4.9bn, 51%) of their total income in 2017/18, compared to a sector average of 47%.
  • Just over a fifth (£2bn, 21%) of small charities’ income comes from government, which is the second largest source of income for small charities.

How do the main sources of income differ by charity size?

  • In 2017/18, small charities were more likely to receive the highest proportion of their income from the general public, compared to charities with an income of over £1m.
  • Charities with an income of under £100k received nearly two-thirds (58%) of their total income from the public, compared to just under half (49%) for medium charities.

How has small charities’ total income changed over time?

  • The overall size of the voluntary sector has grown by £5.3bn over a five-year period.
  • Between 2013/14 and 2017/18, small charities’ total income has slightly declined from £9.7bn to £9.5bn. As a share of their total income, this equates to a 2% decrease.
  • Comparatively, charities with an income of over £1m, between £10m – £100m and over £100m have all experienced an increase in the amount of income in the same timeframe.

How have the main funding sources changed over time?

  • Small charities have experienced fluctuation in the proportion of income from different income sources over time.
  • As a proportion of total income for small charities, income from the general public has slightly increased since 2013/14 (3 percentage points), as has income from investments.
  • The largest change in the proportion of any income source was income from government, which has decreased by 4 percentage points since 2013/14.

How do charities get their income?

  • The voluntary sector gets its income in three ways: as earned income, voluntary income, or through investments.
  • In 2017/18, earned income accounted for 42% of small charities’ income, compared to 48% of large charities’ income.

Insights

Grants and donations

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

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Insights

Trading and Enterprise

Explore data on how small charities earn their money through trading, social enterprise and delivering contracts

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Further reading

NCVO 2020 UK Civil Society Almanac 2020

Third Sector Trends Research 2020 The Strength of Weak Ties: How charitable trusts and foundations collectively contribute to civil society in North East England