Survey shows 81% of charities expect increased demand for services but few feel able to cope

Localgiving's report
Localgiving's report

More than four out of five charities are expecting demand for their services to rise, but only 15 per cent of those feel equipped to handle an increase, according to a new report.

A survey of 538 UK charities, conducted in August and September by the fundraising platform Localgiving, found that 75 per cent of respondents reported an increase in demand for their services over the past year and 81 per cent said they were expecting an increase over the next 12 months.

Of those that said they were expecting an increase in demand, only 15 per cent said they were sufficiently resourced to cope with that rise, according to a report on the survey, called the Local Charity & Community Group Sustainability Report, published today.  

It says that concerns about rising demand for services were most pronounced among charities with annual turnovers of between £250,000 and £1m.

The report says that 42 per cent of respondents, the majority of which were members of Localgiving, said they had had to use their reserves over the past year.

Researchers also found that 73 per cent of those surveyed said they expected their income to either decrease or remain flat over the coming year.

Of those taking part in the survey, less than half (47 per cent) said they were confident they would be able to stay afloat over the next five years.

Stephen Mallinson, chief executive of Localgiving, called for more support for the sector.

"A rapid increase in demand for services, coupled with an inability to access sufficient funding with which to build reserves, has left many local groups with fears about their survival," he said.

"The sector is lacking in both time and resources, leaving charities unable to invest in alternative income sources, training and volunteer recruitment. Without significant targeted intervention, fewer and fewer organisations will be able to continue their valuable work, weakening communities and leaving huge numbers of vulnerable beneficiaries at risk."

The report on the survey has been published to coincide with the launch today of Localgiving’s Grow Your Tenner campaign, a match-funding scheme designed to help small charities and community groups with annual incomes of up to £1m.

The scheme, which is being supported with match funding of £122,500 from the Cabinet Office, will match one-time donations pound for pound up to £10 and monthly donations up to £10 a month for three months.

Each group taking part can access up to £10,000 of match funding.

The scheme will run until the match fund is fully allocated or until 5pm on 18 November.

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