Small charities “struggle to find time and money to invest”, study reveals

Just two out of five small charities expect their income to rise over the next year, a major new study has revealed.

The finding forms part of new research published by Pilotlight and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

The paper looks at the challenges and obstacles facing small charities with an income of less than £5 million a year.

According to the study, which questioned 371 charity leaders in England and Wales, just 38 per cent of small charities expect their income to rise over the next 12 months.

This is compared to 46 per cent who expect to maintain current revenue levels, while 16 per cent of respondents forecast a drop in income over the next year.

Despite feeling financially uncertain, the majority of charity leaders interviewed have high hopes to expand their services next year. The research reports a “significant increase” in the number of charities saying they plan to help more people over the next year, rising from 58 per cent to 78 per cent since the respective 2017 study.

However, uncertainty still unsettles charity leaders, with over two thirds (69 per cent) saying there is more unrest in their operating environment than in previous years.

This includes a quarter (26 per cent) who report dealing with the impact of the withdrawal of a major funding source.

Compliance with new regulations and best practice, however, topped the chart of challenges faced, with 71 per cent of charities citing regulation as a key issue.

This is followed by recruitment (37 per cent), setting up a new partnership (34 per cent) and restructuring the organisation (33 per cent).

Commenting on the report, Philippa Charles, director of Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “The resilience of small charity leaders is remarkable and should be celebrated. Smaller charities tell us they struggle to find the time and money to invest in long-term strategy, but they also fear the risks of failing to do so.”

Click here to access the report.

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