• The Covid-19 crisis has radically reshaped the work of small charities. Around half of small charities have had to adapt or reduce the way their services are delivered, with many unfunded charities being unable to continue delivering services
  • 79% of emergency grants from general funders have gone to small charities, but representing only 27% by total value
  • Around half of small charities provided new services in response to Covid-19
  • 16% of small charities expect to be able to access emergency Covid-19 funding from the National Lottery Community Fund

How are small charities adapting their services?

  • 30% of small charities have been able to continue to deliver services fully during the Covid-19 crisis, with a further 49% delivering services in part.
  • Small charities are less likely to have been able to continue to provide services, with unfunded charities the least able to continue provision in the same way.
  • Just over half (52%) of small charities are providing different services specifically in response to Covid-19.

How has COVID-19 impacted on charities’ income?

  • Overall, small charities experienced a variation in changes to their total income in 2020 compared to 2019, reflecting the financial precarity of the sector.
  • Around a third (30%) of charities with a pre-covid income of under £100k experienced a loss of more than half of their income in 2020, compared to 2019.
  • Charities with an income of 500k- £1m experienced the least extreme losses to their total income.

How have grantmakers supported small charities during Covid-19?

  • Grants worth £1.9bn to charities have been shared in 360Giving’s Covid-19 Tracker. Of this total, £518m went to small charities.
  • 79% of grants went to small charities, worth 27% of the total value of Covid-19 emergency grants.
  • 21% of grants went to large charities, worth 73% of the total value of Covid-19 emergency grants.

How are small charities responding to Covid-19 as employers?

  • 52% of small charities say that they can only meet their payroll costs for the next 1-3 months, with nearly 1 in 10 (9%) not being able to meet their present payroll costs.
  • Around one-third (34%) of small charities intend to furlough staff, compared to 41% who did not. 


Explore data on board-level representation of service users and other equalities areas

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Demand for services

Explore data on how small charities perceive demand for their services and how this has changed

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Further reading

The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, Durham University 2020 Third Sector Trends Covid-19 Impact Survey 

Nottingham Trent University, NCVO and Sheffield Hallam University 2020 Respond, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19 

Nottingham Trent University, NCVO and Sheffield Hallam University 2020 COVID-19 Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer

New Philanthropy Capital 2020 Interactive data dashboard: Covid-19 local needs tracker

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales 2020 Charities Responding to COVID-19: Winter Update

Clinks 2020 The impact of Covid-19 on the voluntary sector in criminal justice

Useful resources

NCVO Information on Coronavirus

Small Charities Coalition COVID Information and support

Locality COVID-19: information, support and funding 

Civil Society What funding is available to charities during Covid-19 pandemic

The National Lottery Community Fund Funding during COVID-19 

The National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal 

Charities Aid Foundation COVID-19 funding, resources, research and insight 

Directory of Social Change Coronavirus funding updates