Overview

  • There are 166,592 voluntary organisations in the UK, of which 96% are small charities.
  • In 2017/18, there were 160,377 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 2017/18, the overall number of charities in the UK was  166,592, 160,377 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 3.6 small charities per 1,000 people, the highest proportion in the UK.
  • The lowest proportion of small charities is in Wales at 2.2, which is almost a third lower than Scotland.

How have the number of charities changed over time?

  • Whilst the size of the sector has remained relatively stable since 2013/14, there have been changes to the proportion of different charity sizes.
  • Overall, the numbers of small charities has remained relatively stable since 2013/14. Conversely, the number of large charities with an income of £1m to £10m and £10m+ has grown by 11% and 18% respectively.
  • As a proportion of the total in 2013/14, the number of charities with an income of under £10k has declined by nearly 5%, from 81,100 to 77,600.
places

How different regions compare

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

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Insights

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