Funding struggles, increased demand stretching small charities

Written by Matt Ritchie

Local charities are reporting increased demand for services and decreasing or stagnating income, and less than half are confident of their financial sustainability over the next five years according to a new study.

A Localgiving survey of nearly 540 local voluntary sector organisations found that although 80 per cent are confident of remaining financially afloat over the next 12 months, this dropped to 47 per cent over the next five years.

Demand for services was reported to be increasing in 75 per cent of cases, and 81 per cent of respondents expect further increases over the next 12 months.

Income was expected to reduce or stagnate over the next year by 73 per cent of respondents, and 42 per cent had dipped into their reserves in the past year. The level of reserves was identified as a concern by 43 per cent of local charities.

Localgiving provides an online platform for local charities and community groups to fundraise and connect with supporters. Chief executive Stephen Mallinson said the shortage of time and resources facing the sector is preventing charities from investing in alternative income sources, training and volunteer recruitment.

“It is vital that strategies are put in place to help better support the sector and address its core issues. Government, industry, philanthropists and the general public can and should all play a part. This means sustained commitment to training, funding and volunteering that outlasts ephemera like annual budgets.”

Localgiving has launched the national Grow Your Tenner campaign, doubling online donations made to UK local charities and community groups by up to £10.

Cabinet Office is supporting the campaign with £122,500 in match funding. Grow Your Tenner runs until the match fund is fully allocated or 5pm on 18 November 2015 - whichever comes first. The campaign offers each local group taking part the opportunity to access up to £10,000 of match funding.

Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson said small charities and community groups can struggle to access the resources they need.

“Campaigns such as Localgiving’s Grow Your Tenner are important to help donations go further, strengthening smaller charities and community groups and helping us build a bigger and stronger society with compassion at its heart.”

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