The almanac, published today, shows that the rising costs of goods and services increased the voluntary sector’s expenditure by £2.3bn between 2008 and 2010.
The data reveals that the sector performed well financially in the aftermath of the recession in 2008/09, generating £36.7bn of income in 2009/10, up from £34.6bn the previous year. But increased costs also led expenditure to rise to an all-time high of £36.3bn, compared with £33.8bn in 2008/09.
In a statement, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said: "Inflation has been the elephant in the room in terms of the sustainability of the sector.
"Often going unnoticed, inflation cost the sector £2.3bn between 2008 and 2010 – relentlessly increasing costs and reducing the value of our income. In many ways, the combination of cuts and rising costs has created the perfect storm."
The almanac says that government spending on the sector will fall by about £3.3bn between 2010 and 2015. The biggest fall will occur in 2015, when expenditure from local and central government sources is expected drop by almost £1.3bn in real terms compared with 2010 levels.
- Find our more about the Almanac by reading our analysis
- Read Andy Ricketts' Editorial about the Almanac's findings