Brexit to hit funding, charity leaders say

Written by Matt Ritchie

Most charity leaders expect Brexit will have a negative impact on their funding opportunities, according to a new study.

However, most respondents to research by charity think tank NPC expected leaving the EU will have either no or a neutral effect on demand for services and community cohesion.

A report covering the views of around 400 charity chief executives and trustees found 53 per cent felt the impact of Brexit on their funding opportunities would be negative.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents felt leaving the European Union would have no effect or a neutral effect on demand for services. Twenty-one per cent expected a negative impact on demand, 10 per cent expected a positive impact, and the remainder did not know.

Fifty-four per cent felt Brexit would have no or a neutral effect on cohesion within their communities, 36 per cent expected a negative impact, and just 4 per cent expected the impact to be positive.

The study revealed 52 per cent of respondents expected to be partnering more with other charities within the next three years.

Almost three quarters of respondents expected to be doing more things in three years' time, while just 4 per cent expected to be undertaking fewer activities.

Of the charities delivering public contracts 64 per cent said they need to use other sources of income to deliver the work, and 57 per cent reported turning down contracts because their operational risk was too high.

Respondents identified funding and public perception as the two leading factors in increasing the sector's impact in society, followed by internal improvements, better relations with the public sector, sector cooperation, and engaging users, stakeholders, and volunteers.

The report's authors concluded that a focus on external factors like funding and public perception needs to be supplemented by greater concentration on the things charities themselves can improve now.

NPC head of policy and external affairs Patrick Murray said the study found some charities thriving through focusing on high-impact activities like collaboration with new and existing partners, embracing diversity and a new attitude to risk, and harnessing new resources.

“But the research identified many others struggling. If the sector is to step up to the challenge, leaders will need to think very differently about how to deliver impact in this changing world,” he said.

The report, Charities taking charge: Transforming to face a changing world, forms part of NPC's State of the Sector research programme. The next stage of the project will involve publication of a set of essays by sector leaders, exploring new approaches to tackling hurdles faced by the sector.

Access the full report here.

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