Surveys aimed at finding out more about the needs of small, unregistered third sector organisations in three geographical areas have been started by the Office of the Third Sector.
Small organisations such as voluntary groups, community-led organisations and social enterprises will all be included in the study, which is designed to increase knowledge of what support the Government can provide during the recession.
The findings will supplement those of the National Survey of Third Sector Organisations, published in May this year
Those results revealed that the amount of influence an organisation has over local decisions is an important factor in how positively it views the local public sector.
The OTS has also handed out its first Hardship Fund grants worth £6.7m to 74 third sector organisations.
The English strand of the £16.7m Hardship Fund was opened to charities in July this year.
It is aimed at organisations with incomes of more than £200,000 a year that have suffered a fall in income that affects their ability to deliver services.