Small charities are a big deal

The work these organisations do in providing help to people right at the point of need is absolutely vital, says Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and research at the IoF

Daniel Fluskey
Daniel Fluskey
This week is Small Charity Week. Put on by the Foundation for Social Improvement, it’s six days of events showcasing and celebrating the work of small charities. It also brings together people that work and volunteer in small charities to share information and provide advice through a series of workshops and events.

The Institute of Fundraising is delighted to be a partner in Small Charity Week this year, as we know that the work these organisations do in providing help to people right at the point of need is absolutely vital.

It’s a good time to remind ourselves of just how many smaller organisations there are in the UK. The UK Civil Society Almanac 2013 from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations shows that more than 80 per cent of all voluntary organisations are either ‘micro’ (meaning organisations with an annual income of less than £10,000) or ‘small’ (an organisation with an income of less than £100,000). Taken together, this includes 136,000 organisations. And that doesn’t include those organisations that are too small to register as charities – estimated at being about 600,000.

Organisations of all shapes and sizes are going through a tough time at the moment: our survey earlier in the year, Managing in a Downturn, showed that the vast majority of charities who responded thought that the funding environment got tougher last year and expect it to get even tougher in the year ahead. And small charities face particular challenges, including – in the words of Alex Swallow, chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition – "whether someone in the staff team has fundraising skills, deciding who has chief responsibility for fundraising, finding funding sources appropriate for their work, measuring the impact of their work to help with funding bids and developing enough of a profile to receive fundraising from the public."

We recognise that small charities often have different needs, and that’s why we are really excited to have been able to reach hundreds of organisations through our small charities training programme, helping them grow and diversify their fundraising. We hope to be able to continue to develop this work and help support more organisations who deliver vital services meeting people’s needs and look forward to working with more of them over the year.

Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and research, Institute of Fundraising

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