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Charities spend £136.4m a day helping people, reveals joint sector report

Charities spend £136.4m a day helping people, reveals joint sector report

Charities spend over £1,500 per second improving lives in England and Wales: £136.4m a day, according to Charity Today 2017, a joint report from four sector bodies, released today (9th February).

The report is a collaboration by ACEVO, the Charities Aid Foundation, the Institute of Fundraising and CharityComms. Other organisations in the sector including NCVO also helped to compile the report, the findings of which will be covered by the BBC in a series of programmes today and tomorrow. The report highlights the role charities play in people’s everyday lives, aimed at giving a better understanding of the contribution made to public life by charities and an insight into how they operate and how they are changing.

As well as presenting key financial statistics on the sector as whole, the report also looks at some of the big challenges facing the sector, and provides a charity snapshot with statistics on the individual causes of health, animals, sport, arts and culture, children and young people, suicide and self-harm prevention, revealing, for example that £500,000 is spent every hour by medical research, hospital and rehabilitation charities, while £11 million is spent every day by housing charities and associations.

Key figures:

  • There are more than 160,000 registered charities in England and Wales, employing some 827,000 people.
  • The overall income of the charitable sector is around £43.8bn.
  • Over £9.6bn was donated by the British public in 2015.
  • 2.9bn hours are given by volunteers each year: worth £16.5bn if valued at the National Living Wage rate.
  • £29bn of income a year comes from public donations or trade in charity shops, nursery places or cafés.
  • 83% of people in the UK have used a charitable service in the past year.
  • For every £1 invested in fundraising activity, charities on average receive £4 in donations.
  • 14.2 million people in the UK said they volunteered once a month in 2014/15: 27%.
  • Income from individuals remains the largest source of income for the sector – £19.4bn in 2013/14.

ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning said:

“Charities measure their success by the good they do, not the profits they make. As organisations driven by values, it’s vital we operate to high standards and with real transparency. 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.

“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.”

John Grounds from CharityComms said:

“Charities – both large and small – play a huge part in our national life, but one that’s often unnoticed or taken for granted. This report shows just a fraction of the value charities and the people that work and volunteer for them bring to our communities. This goes far beyond monetary contribution to include substantial benefits to the health and wellbeing of our society.”

The full report can be downloaded from the ACEVO site.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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