Despite a growing demand for essential services provided
by the voluntary sector during the recession, the economic
downturn is forcing charity leaders to put the brakes on
recruitment levels, the NCVO latest quarterly Charity Forecast
Almost a fifth (19%) of charity leaders surveyed for the
report plan to decrease the number of paid staff, with over
half (51%) maintaining staffing levels.
The figures are in marked contrast to the previous quarter
(October to December 2008) where over half (56%) of those
surveyed planned to increase paid staff numbers.
The forecast, based on responses from chief executives,
directors, trustees and senior managers of charities and
voluntary sector organisations, also shows that almost nine
out of ten (88%) charity leaders believe the economic conditions
in the voluntary sector will be negative over the next 12
For the first time since the survey was launched in March
2008, none of the respondents believe the economic conditions
within the UK will improve over the next 12 months, with
97% reporting a negative outlook for the UK economy.
Despite the gloomy economic outlook, almost half of those
surveyed (48%) plan to expand their services.
There is also a higher expectation among charity leaders
for collaboration over the coming year, with almost three
quarters (74%) expecting collaboration to increase.
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, commented:
“The recession is having a significant impact on confidence
levels within the charity and voluntary sector. With the
economic outlook for 2009 looking increasingly bleak, the
need for the charity and voluntary sector to make the best
use of their resources and develop their entrepreneurial
spirit, has never been greater.
“While the forecast shows areas of pessimism, charity
leaders remain bullish in others. It’s encouraging
to see the sector is responding to the challenge by planning
increased collaboration and an expansion of volunteers.
NCVO is working with the Government to help ensure charities
and voluntary groups continue to provide essential frontline
services during these difficult times.”
Of the 144 sector leaders surveyed, the resultsshowed:
50% of sector leaders fear their organisation’s financial
situation will worsen over the next 12 months – a
drop of 19 percentage points from May 2008.
Almost half (49%) feel that government policies will worsen
the operating environment for their organisation. Many respondents
expressed concern about cuts to funding for essential services,
as well as providing the same level of services with less
Two in five sector leaders (42%) plan to increase their
organisation’s expenditure over the coming year. Levels
of increased expenditure have remained steady from the previous
quarter, with a drop of only
4 percentage points.
Volunteers continue to be seen as vital to the sector,
with almost half of respondents (49%) planning to increase
For more information visit http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/downturn.asp