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'Something has got to give' for hard-pushed charities, warns leading charity body

Charities are battling with an increased demand for their services despite being hit by multiple financial pressures, according to a new survey of charity leaders.

The Charity Forecast Survey, published today (26/06/2012) by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), shows that 85 per cent of respondents expect to increase (34 per cent) or maintain (51 per cent) the services that they offer. This is in spite of the fact that 44 per cent predict their expenditure will decrease over the next 12 months and 20 per cent expect it to remain static.

The survey also shows a gloomy outlook for the year ahead, with 59 per cent of respondents expecting their financial situation to deteriorate further over the next twelve months. One respondent said: "We are having to plug funding and caring gaps on even basic matters because of local government cuts that are stripping the most vulnerable of help and dignity."

Commenting on the findings, Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO, said:

"The charity sector has always done its best to put the people it supports first when faced with economic challenges, but there’s a very real and present danger that it will reach breaking point if the gulf between demand and resource continues to widen. The sector is already doing a lot more with much less, and something has got to give eventually.

"The government has indicated that it is prepared to support the sector through these tough times. Schemes such as the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme have good intentions, but its complexity may prevent the very charities it was designed to help from reaping its full benefit. We all need to work together to create an environment where charities can flourish."

Other findings from the quarterly survey include:

  • Ninety-four per cent of respondents think economic conditions within the voluntary sector will be negative over the next 12 months.
  • Sixty-one per cent say the financial situation of their organisations worsened over the last 12 months.
  • Sixty-eight per cent of respondents expect to collaborate more with other organisations over the next 12 months. Fifty-nine per cent expect to compete more.
  • Eighty-six per cent of respondents think economic conditions within the UK as a whole will be negative over the next 12 months.

Journalists requiring more information or a copy of the Charity Forecast survey can contact Mandy Murphy in NCVO’s press office on 020 7520 2469 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For calls outside office hours, please call 07714 243942.

Notes to Editors

The Charity Forecast Survey is carried out by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations every three months. It is open to all UK-based NCVO members.

This is the eighteenth edition of Charity Forecast and the results are based on a snapshot survey undertaken from 3 May to 2 June 2012. The survey began in February 2008.

All survey participants were Chief Executives, Directors, Trustees or Senior Managers of charities or voluntary sector organisations. There were a total of 85
responses which the results in this report were based on.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England, with sister councils in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NCVO has over 8,300 members, ranging from large national bodies to community groups, volunteer centres, and development agencies working at a local level. With over 280,000 staff and over 13 million volunteers working for our members, we represent and support almost half the voluntary sector workforce.

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