Sector leaders are increasingly pessimistic about the future of their organisations, according to a new survey by the NCVO.
The ninth quarterly Charity Forecast Survey, carried out in February by the umbrella body and published today, records the lowest levels of confidence yet among the 144 chief executives, senior managers and trustees who responded.
Forty-two per cent of respondents thought the general situation for their organisations would deteriorate during the next 12 months, and 49 per cent thought their financial situation would worsen. These are the highest figures since the survey began in February 2008.
The proportion of leaders expecting to cut staff over the next three months is also at its highest, with 21 per cent expecting a cut, compared with 26 per cent who expected an increase.
The proportion of charities planning to expand their services has also fallen considerably since August 2008, the figures show.
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said he hoped new measures to support the sector would be unveiled in today's Budget.
"Charities have proved extremely resilient in the changing economic climate, but our latest survey shows leaders are increasingly concerned about the state of their organisations, the voluntary sector and the UK economy at large," he said.