The Road Ahead

Our analysis of the major opportunities and challenges facing the voluntary sector in 2024. Learn more

17,000 members milestone reached in tough financial climate for voluntary sector

Today we publish our annual report and financial accounts for the year ending 31 March 2022.

During a challenging year, our membership grew 4%. Despite this, we ended the financial year with a larger than planned financial deficit of £718,000.

Our trustees chose to fund this through reserves to ensure continued service delivery - reflecting the challenges facing organisations across the voluntary sector in 2021/22.

Continued membership growth and a new milestone

We had 17,102 members at the end of March 2022 - a 4% year-on-year growth:

  • 66% community members with an income of under £30,000 (receiving free membership)
  • 34% paying members

And membership numbers have continued to grow into 2022/23 - we currently have 17,394.

Despite reaching this milestone of 17,000+ members, membership growth has slowed compared to the previous year. We saw extraordinarily fast growth as organisations turned to us for support during the earlier stages of the pandemic.

Our membership retention rate also dropped by 10% in 2021/22. The impact of the second year of the covid-19 crisis on voluntary organisations across the sector has led to:

  • erratic changes in the income of members
  • sudden resignations
  • an increased number of organisations closing due to the effects of the pandemic.

Larger than expected deficit due to ongoing impact of covid-19

2021/22 was another challenging year for the voluntary sector due to the ongoing pandemic and restrictions. Emergency grant support and the job retention scheme were no longer available for much of the year.

There also hasn’t been a return to-pre-pandemic levels of face-to-face services and events.

Our own finances reflect these wider challenges in the sector - we’ve seen a drop in both our income and expenditure despite consistent demand.

We had a total income of £5.4m (£7.5m in 20/21) and a total expenditure of £6.3m (£7.4m in 20/21) in 21/22.

Our finances were particularly impacted by the continued effect of covid-19 restrictions on our conference suite income, but also a fall in income from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

We’re forecasting a breakeven budget for 2022/23. Our conference suite income is growing back and other sources of income like training and membership continue to increase.

Guidance, support and training online

We continued to deliver the majority of our services and support for the voluntary sector online. Over 100 training programmes and courses were delivered online which increased accessibility.

We also continued to develop our substantial range of online resources which respond to and anticipate member needs.

Our website, practical support and resources received 852,000 users and over 3.2m page views. We also hosted more than 60 online events which were attended by over 3,000 participants.

Back to top