Small charities have seen service demand rise 103% since June 2013, according to the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI).
The FSI’s latest quarterly Small Charities Index for March – May 2017 shows that demand has risen most steeply in the past year. Demand has increased year on year with an increase of +14% in year one, +22% in year two, +27% in year three and +39% year four, with a further increase in demand expected between June 2017 and May 2018. In the last quarter, 69% of the charities questioned for the Index reported an increase in demand for their services, with 31% reporting an increase of more than 10%, and 3% reporting a decrease.
The Index also looks at income levels. Between March and May this year, 77% of respondents reported that statutory income levels had remained unchanged. 9% reported an increase in statutory income while 14% reported a decrease in over the same period, up from 10% in the previous quarter. All regions reported a decrease except for Scotland, which remained unchanged, while the North West experienced the greatest drop at 3%. Overall, statutory income for small and local charities and community groups has decreased by 11% since 2013.
Almost half (47%) reported that voluntary income remained static last quarter, with 12% reporting increases above 10%, and 20% experiencing a decrease. Only the South West and the Scotland saw an increase in voluntary income last quarter, of 5% and 3% respectively. According to the FSI, with a total growth of 2% since June 2013, the figures suggest that voluntary income is not sufficiently compensating for any losses in statutory income, leaving small and local charities and community groups vulnerable.
The Index also shows that 19% of all respondents fear for the future, potentially looking towards closure in the coming 12 months. The FSI is offering a training programme over the next two years aimed at helping small charities find and take advantage of the support available to them.
Pauline Broomhead, CBE, Founding CEO of the FSI, said:
“We can only address our most urgent challenge by addressing our most important one, building financially sustainable organisations at the same time as our trustees and staff are tacking the underlying challenge of building more robust governing boards.
“The DCMS training programme the FSI are delivering in partnership with Localgiving, Charities Finance Group and the Small Charities Coalition is a starting point to do this. Through this programme a range of learning opportunities are being delivered across England over the next two years. The priority is to ensure as many small charities know about the opportunities as possible so they can gain free and heavily subsidised support to support their sustainability and strengthen their governance.”