Charity sector leaders launch major survey into impact of cost-of-living crisis

Charity sector leaders have linked up to launch “one of the biggest surveys in the social sector in years” into the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on charities and community groups.

The project involves think tank Pro Bono Economics along with Nottingham Trent University’s National VCSE Data and Insights Observatory.

Also involved is the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the British Red Cross, Chartered Institute of Fundraising and the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales.

The aim is to carry out quarterly surveys “to inform policymakers about the state of the social sector during the cost-of-living crisis”, said Pro Bono Economics.

Another focus is to show the impact on the sector of a government pledge to support charities and businesses for six months with rising energy costs, as part of its Energy Price Guarantee which was announced this month.

The Guarantee is being reviewed in three months’ time to identify ‘vulnerable industries’ eligible for further support.

But through its Law Family Commission on Civil Society, Pro Bono Economics has raised concerns that policy makers do not have access to reliable data about the charity sector.

“Charities have a vital role to play in helping the country navigate the cost-of-living crisis, but - as is so often the case with the social sector - we know too little about its capacity to meet the demand it is facing,” said Pro Bono Economics chief executive Matt Whittaker.

“We also have very little data on how the crisis will affect these crucial organisations themselves.

“It is encouraging to see the sector coming together to work with the Observatory to plug this evidence gap.

“This collaboration is a great example of the power of the Observatory in generating high quality sector-wide research and insight, which can support more effective decision-making in government and in the sector itself.”

National VCSE Data and Insights Observatory director Daniel King added: ““The cost-of-living crisis creates pressing challenges for many charities, as rising costs meet falling income and escalating demand.

“Developing this survey to capture real time data about the impact of the crisis on the sector and how the sector is responding is really important.

“We are delighted that the Observatory is teaming up with Pro Bono Economics to work with the sector to co-design this survey, and to analyse it in an independent way.

“This survey provides an opportunity to get the best insights into the sector at a time of significant change.”

Charity Times has also launched a survey among the charity sector on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. To fill in the Charity Times survey, click here.

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