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Less than half of local charities confident of long-term survival as pressures mount

Less than half of local charities confident of long-term survival as pressures mount

Demand for services is up and continues to rise but few charities feel sufficiently resourced to meet it, with less than half confident of their survival beyond the next five years, a report from has found.

Localgiving’s latest Local Charity and Community Group Sustainability Report, presented to voluntary sector bodies including NCVO, IoF, DCMS, SCC, Lloyds Foundation and DSC on 26 April, is based on 686 responses from local charities and community groups, and highlights the growing challenges faced by many.  

It reveals that while only 47% of local charities and community groups are confident they will survive beyond five years, 78% of groups have seen an increase in demand for their services over the past 12 months with 85% of these groups predicting a further increase in demand over the coming year. However, only 14% feel they have sufficient resources to meet it.

Other key findings:

  • 73% see competition for limited grants as their primary income generation issue.
  • 71% of respondents are concerned their organisation does not have the requisite skills to run a successful fundraising campaign.
  • The financial value of volunteers in the local voluntary sector lies between £7.5 and £10.5billion per year.
  • 48% of groups struggle to providing adequate support and training to their staff and volunteers.
  • 45% of groups are unlikely to comply with GDPR by May 2018.
  • 2% of local groups in the UK feel Brexit will have a positive impact on their organisation. 

Localgiving’s recommendations include developing strong, transparent communication channels between the local voluntary sector and government at all levels, and improving capacity building programmes to help grassroots groups diversify their income streams and prepare for increases in service demand.

Localgiving’s Lewis Garland, author of the report, said:

“Our report has revealed a sector stretched well beyond its capacity. Local charities have been expected to fill the gaps left by public sector cuts, while simultaneously competing for dwindling funding opportunities. Meanwhile, the climate of uncertainty around issues such as Brexit and GDPR has left many questioning their future.

“If the sector is to survive, let alone flourish, it is essential that local charities are actively included in key decision-making processes – both at the local and national level. Furthermore, we must find way to increase, and diversify the funding and support available to these groups.” 

Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales said:

“As a funder of small and local charities, every day we see examples of organisations stretched to capacity facing rising demand and increasingly uncertain futures. This report shows that now more than ever it is important that we speak up for charities on the frontline supporting people facing the greatest challenges, helping to raise their voices too.

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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