New study highlights the value of charities to society

Written by Matt Ritchie

The largest charities in England and Wales spend £136.4m a day on charitable activity, new analysis shows.

The study shows the largest six per cent of charities, those with income over £500,000, spend £49.8bn on delivering services each year.

Acevo, the Charities Aid Foundation, the Institute of Fundraising, and CharityComms collaborated on the study highlighting the contribution charities make to the UK. Charities earning over £500,000 were selected for the expenditure analysis due to the detailed reporting charity law requires of the organisations.

The report, Charity Today, shows volunteers give around 2.29 billion hours each year overall. This contribution would be worth £16.5bn if valued at the rate of the Living Wage.

IoF chief executive Peter Lewis said charities can only play their essential role with the continuing generosity of the British public.

“Fundraising - engaging people in a cause, telling people about the charity’s work and asking for their support - is at the heart of what charities are about. As we see the demand for charity services increasing in the years to come, and other sources of income reduce, donations from the public become even more important”

Acevo chief executive Vicky Browning said that as values driven organisations, it is vital that charities operate transparently and to high standards.

“In recent times, poor processes and poor practice have been revealed in some areas of the charity sector. It's right that charities respond to this - and they have,” Browning said. “But while legitimate criticism is healthy, there's a danger of letting it tarnish our sense of the value of charities, disproportionately damaging their worth and ability to function. We mustn't lose sight of the huge contribution charities make in so many areas of daily life, and to the nation as a whole.”

CAF chief executive John Low said the research is a reminder that charities play a pivotal role in many parts of society.

“We are among the most generous countries in the world. From medical research and treatment to heritage, social care to supporting children, virtually everyone in Britain benefits from the work of charities even if they don’t realise it.”

Click here to download the report (pdf).

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