A sixth of voluntary sector organisations in Yorkshire and Humber say they have no reserves at all on which to draw, according to a survey carried out by the umbrella body for voluntary and community organisations in the region.
Another 30 per cent were already drawing on their reserves, and 24 per cent were considering doing so.
Judy Robinson, chief executive of Involve Yorkshire & Humber, said the findings suggested charities were "struggling to cope in an environment of increasingly scarce resources".
The survey also found that 77 per cent of respondents think economic conditions in the sector will deteriorate over the next 12 months, while 41 per cent expect the financial situation of their organisations to deteriorate in that time.
It found that 31 per cent of respondents are members of a consortium set up to bid for public sector contracts. Of those, 56 per cent are members of consortia that have secured contracts in the past 12 months.