• There are 165,758 voluntary organisations in the UK, of which 96% are small charities.
  • In 2019/20, there were 159,041 small charities in the UK.
  • Small charities comprise 96% of the UK voluntary sector.
  • Scotland has the highest proportion of small charities per 1,000 people in the population.

How many small charities are there?

  • Small charities comprise 96% of the voluntary sector in the UK.
  • In 2019/20, the overall number of charities in the UK was 165,758 – 159,041 of which were small charities with an income of under £1m.
  • The figures in this table use the NCVO ‘general charities’ definition.

What is the proportion of small charities per head?

  • Scotland has 367 small charities per 100,000 people in the population, the highest proportion in the UK.
  • Wales has the lowest proportion of small charities, with 215 per 100,000 people.

How have the number of charities changed over time?

  • The overall size of the charity sector has remained relatively stable since 2013/14, with a small 2% decline in 2018/19 which picked up again in 2019/20.
  • The makeup of the sector continues to change, with the proportion of charities over £1m and £10m growing year-on-year.
  • In contrast, small charities have not increased significantly. The number of charities with an income of under £10k declined most sharply in 2018/19 but saw an increase in 2019/20.

How different regions compare

Explore key regional differences on income, funding and causes for small charities

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Find out what small charities do

Explore our curated dataset about what activities that small charities do and where they work

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Further reading

NCVO 2020 UK Civil Society Almanac 2020

360Giving, NCVO & Local Trust 2020 Below the radar: Exploring grants data for grassroots organisations