FIT Sponsorship
NEWS  |  Finance

UK Charities Under “Recession” Stress – Report

Tuesday, 6th March 2012 at 10:52 am
Staff Reporter
Charities faced a "toxic mix of circumstances" over the past year, with increased demand for services, rising costs and an unprecedented fall in income according to the UK National Council of Voluntary Organisations.

Tuesday, 6th March 2012
at 10:52 am
Staff Reporter



UK Charities Under “Recession” Stress – Report
Tuesday, 6th March 2012 at 10:52 am

Charities faced a "toxic mix of circumstances" over the past year, with increased demand for services, rising costs and an unprecedented fall in income according to the UK National Council of Voluntary Organisations.

New figures from NCVO’s Civil Society Almanac depict a charity sector struggling with the worst recession for fifty years.

The figures show that charities were hit by £2.3 billion in rising costs purely as a result of inflation between 2008 and 2010.

Speaking at the NCVO Annual Conference in London, NCVO chief executive Sir Stuart Etherington also highlighted a dramatic drop in the voluntary sector workforce, losing over 70,000 staff in the past year.

The figures also show that charities spent the years since the start of the recession 'swimming against the tide' to meet increased demand from users and beneficiaries.

During the height of the recession in 2010, NCVO says voluntary organisations spent 99 per cent of their income (£36.3 billion out of £36.7 billion) in order to keep pace with rising costs and expand their services to cope with demand; this was the smallest gap between income in spending in ten years.

Many organisations dipped into their reserves to stay afloat, and a higher proportion of funding was channelled directly to frontline charitable activity.

Sir Stuart Etherington also suggested that the pendulum has swung too far from grants to contracts.

He said income from statutory grants had declined steadily from a peak of £5.3 billion in real terms in 2003/4 to £3 billion in 2009/10.

At the same time, the decade saw a significant increase in contract income as voluntary organisations' role in public service delivery expanded, from £4.3 billion in 2000/1 to £10.9 billion in 2009/10.

Sir Stuart said: 'This new research shows how charities have had to spend every last penny just to keep their heads above water. 

The charity sector has already taken a significant hit and we must act quickly to ensure that communities are not deprived of vital services.'

Other findings from the 2012 NCVO Civil Society Almanac include:

  • At a glance: in 2010 there were 163,763 voluntary organisations in the UK, with an income of £36.7 billion employing 765,000 staff.
  • Peak funding: in 2007/08, £38.0 billion was the voluntary sector's highest recorded income in current prices.
  • Spending is up: a real increase of £1.1 billion over the 2 years 2008-2010.
  • In the face of the recession, charities expanded their services in order to meet increased demand.
  • Inflation is biting: increasing prices cost the sector £2.3 billion over the 2 years 2008-2010.
  • Grants squeeze: during the recession public sector grants fell by almost £500 million.
  • More service delivery: The sector gets £13.9 billion from government, 79% is contracts for services.
  • Cuts: by the end of the spending review period 2015/16, the voluntary sector is forecast to lose £1.2 billion in government income each year, a cumulative total of £3.3 billion.
  • Giving down, buying up: charitable giving fell by £383 million in the recession, but sales to the public increased by £905 million (this would cover raffle tickets, charity shops and membership fees).
  • Sustainability: in 2009/10 voluntary organisations spent 99% of all incoming resources
  • Reserves: free reserves were £42.2 billion in 2009/10: in real terms, £4.1 billion lower than at the beginning of the decade.

The full speech can be found online. 


Yes we’re lawyers, but we do a lot more....


Brennan IT helps not-for-profit (NFP) organisations drive gr...

Brennan IT

Helping the helpers fund their mission…...

FrontStream Pty Ltd (FrontStream AsiaPacific)

NGO Recruitment is Australia’s not-for-profit sector recru...

NGO Recruitment

More Suppliers


Passive or Active – The Challenge for 2018

David Crosbie

Thursday, 18th January 2018 at 8:47 am

Charities Are Still Needed

Martin Laverty

Tuesday, 9th January 2018 at 9:37 am

A Fox in Charge of a Hen House

Rachel Siewert

Friday, 22nd December 2017 at 3:01 pm

Australian Charities Urged to Enable Mobile Donations This Christmas

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 12th December 2017 at 3:03 pm


$110M Package Tackles Anxiety and Depression Among Young Australians

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 9th January 2018 at 8:46 am

Social Enterprise Announces $500,000 Funding for Social and Affordable Housing

Luke Michael

Monday, 15th January 2018 at 11:26 am

Privatisation Poses New Challenges for NFPs Managing Their Workforce

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 9th January 2018 at 4:36 pm

White Ribbon Australia CEO Announces Retirement

Wendy Williams

Wednesday, 10th January 2018 at 5:15 pm

One Comment

  • Smith Smith says:

    That’s frustrating, government should grant to help uk charities to enable young people free themselves from poverty and disadvantage by heading into the job they want. Hope everything goes fine.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FIT Sponsorship
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!