State of the Sector survey: what are the main challenges for charities?

A sustainable funding base is the main difficulty, particularly for small charities

Respondents saw sustainable funding as the sector's biggest challenge by far. This was especially true for respondents from smaller organisations, 88 per cent of whom named it as their biggest challenge.

Their next biggest concern - growing voluntary income - was named by only 48 per cent. Communicating the importance of their work was more important to people from large organisations, as was growing voluntary income. Creating an effective trustee board and securing government funding declined in importance as the charity grew in size.

Joe Saxton of nfpSynergy believes this reflects the barriers some small charities face. "Large charities find it easier to get funding, so it is less important to them," he says. "Small organisations don't have robust balance sheets, dedicated staff to do applications or the ability not to worry about losing a per cent or two from the total."

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