Recession biting harder, Charity Commission survey finds

But few charities have considered working together

Only 3 per cent of charities have considered collaborating with another charity or merging, according to the Charity Commission's latest survey on the impact of the recession on charities.

The Economic Survey of Charities shows the recession was having an increasing impact on charities, with 52 per cent of the 1,000 people interviewed reporting they had been affected, compared with 38 per cent when the survey was carried out in September (Third Sector Online, 13 October). Thirty per cent said their incomes had dropped.

The survey also found that larger charities - especially those with incomes between £100,000 and £1m - had been most affected by the recession because of rising demand for their services, while income from investments, trading and government grants fell. About two-thirds of large charities were concerned that their services would be greatly affected by the recession.

Dame Suzi Leather, the chair of the commission, said: "It is very surprising that more charities are not considering collaboration with others, as this can help them share expertise and costs." It was important that all charities did what they could to enable their work to continue, she said.

Larger charities were much more likely than smaller organisations to have thought about working with another charity, the research showed. Although only 3 per cent of charities overall had considered a merger or collaboration, 6 per cent of charities with annual incomes of more than £1m had considered a merger, and 9 per cent had looked into a collaboration.
Leather also noted that only 6 per cent of charities had drawn on their reserves. "Although this is not a step that should be taken lightly, it is important to remember that reserves are collected for this purpose," she said. "Now is the rainy day charities have been saving for."

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