Record revenue but small charities “struggling to survive” - Thorne Widgery

A number of charity records were broken last year, including the total number of organisations registered with the Charity Commission and the total amount raised.

The Charity Commission published the annual figures this week.

They show that more than 168,000 charities were registered with the regulator as of 31 December 2017 – the most recorded since the same period nine years ago.

Between them, not-for-profit organisations raised a record £75 billion – up £2.24 billion on the same period last year, and up more than £30 billion on a decade ago.

The report shows that the top 1.3 per cent of charities – those earning £5 million or more – took almost three quarters (72.2 per cent) of total revenue. Meanwhile, the bottom 73.2 per cent of charities – those earning between £0 and £100,000 – took just three per cent of total revenue – highlighting a clear fundraising void between the biggest and smallest of charities.

Paul Streets, chief executive of the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, said: “Today’s figures confirm what we and others have reported on and see day to day: that the voluntary sector is seeing a growing divide between a relative handful of larger charities getting ever bigger and taking a larger proportion of the sector’s total income, while the vast majority of small and local charities are literally struggling to survive.”

He added: “Charities big or small need always be clear what their mission and purpose is, and should be driven by those they serve, not just their size or market share.

“Meanwhile, the government needs to reform its whole approach to commissioning and contracting from one that has favoured scale and price to one that is focused on and values quality and specialism.”