• In 2018/19, small charities’ expenditure was £10.1bn, 19% of the overall voluntary sector expenditure.
  • On average, charities with an income under £100k spent more than they earned in 2018/19.
  • In 2018/19, small charities spent 87% of their total spending on activities related to achieving their charitable mission.
  • Small charities held 23% of the sectors’ total assets.

How much does the sector spend?

  • In 2018/19, small charities accounted for nearly one-fifth (19%) of the total voluntary sector expenditure (£10.1bn of £54.2bn).
  • Charities with an income of under £100k were more likely to spend more than they earned, comprising 11% more than their total income that year.
  • Comparatively, large charities spent less than their overall income.

How much do small charities spend on achieving their mission?

  • Small charities spend the majority of their income on activities related to their mission (grants and charitable activities), followed by raising funds and governance.
  • In 2018/19, small charities spent more money as a proportion of their total expenditure on achieving their charitable mission (86% & 88%, compared to 84% in charities with an income of over £1m).
  • Small charities spent 4% of their total spending on governance, compared to 0.9% of total spending in large charities.

What share of the sector’s assets do small charities have?

  • In 2018/19, small charities had 23% of the sectors' total assets.
  • Of which, charities with an income of £100k and under had just 5% of the net total assets, compared to charities with an income of £100k - £1m, who had 18% of total assets.

Financial stability and sustainability

What are small charities’ main funding concerns? How stable are their finances?

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Main sources of income for small charities

What are the main sources of income for small charities? How do charities get their income?

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Further reading

NCVO 2020 UK Civil Society Almanac 2020