• There are 163,150 voluntary organisations in the UK, of which 96% are small charities.
  • In 2018/19, there were 156,646 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 2018/19, the overall number of charities in the UK was 163,150 – 156,646 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 210 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, but with decline in the past year of 2% from 166,592 to 163,150.
  • The makeup of the sector continues to change, with the proportion of charities over £1m growing year-on-year.
  • In contrast, the number of charities with an income of under £10k has declined most sharply from the previous year, accounting for the decline in the overall size of sector.

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