Overview

  • The public sector is the second largest source of funding for small charities after the general public.
  • Small charities received £2,035m from the public sector in 2018/19.
  • 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 2018/19, small and medium-sized charities received a total income of £2,035m from the public sector.
  • This is the second highest source of income after the general public.
  • Small charities and medium-sized charities received 13% and 23% of their income from government.
  • Government income to small charities has declined in real terms over five years, from £2553m 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.
  • Overall, government income for all small charities has dropped by 20%.
  • Charities with an income of under £100k have seen the greatest decline in their income from government, receiving nearly a third less than they did in 2013/14.

Which branch of government invests the most in small charities?

  • The largest share of public funding for 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