What is the Almanac?


First published in 1996, the Almanac gives an overview of the voluntary sector’s scope and characteristics, including its finances, workforce, and volunteers.

It draws upon a unique historical dataset based on charity annual reports and accounts from the year 2000/01 onwards, plus data and evidence from a range of government and sector research including the Community Life Survey, the Labour Force Survey and NCVO’s own research.

The Almanac dataset was developed in partnership with the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham, using data from the Charity Commission and a representative sample of charity accounts.

Data for Scotland is provided by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), and for Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).

The Almanac is based on the definition of ‘general charities’ developed by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to capture the voluntary sector’s contribution to GDP to the National Accounts.

We use this subset of charities as a measure of the voluntary sector because of challenges around data quality and availability for organisations that are not registered charities.

2023 is the first year that NCVO has featured a section on charity vacancies and salary levels, with this produced in partnership with CharityJob, the UK’s leading specialised job board for non-profit, NGO, social enterprise, CIC and voluntary roles.

We will continue to build on this data partnership in future to produce relevant insights for the charity sector.

How is the Almanac used?

On our website, anybody can access and download the charts and tables. You can use this data to:

  • Understand the scope and scale of the voluntary sector
  • Highlight the value of the sector, influence policy, and strengthen your campaigns
  • Inform your organisation’s financial plan and fundraising strategy
  • Assist with your board’s strategic thinking
  • Compare your organisation against others
  • Explain the context your organisation works in
  • Understand workforce trends in the sector and what this might mean for you
  • Improve your volunteer recruitment and involvement

We undertake further analysis throughout the year which we publish in different ways, including:

  • briefings
  • reports
  • news and insights pieces
  • social media content.

We also undertake bespoke research based on our financial data for a range of voluntary organisations, public and private bodies, and academic researchers.


The Almanac would not be possible without the contribution of the following people and organisations:

  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham
  • SCVO
  • Office for National Statistics
  • CharityJob

The authors of this year’s Almanac are:

  • Nayyara Tabassum
  • Bradley Fern

The Almanac relies on the support of current and former staff across and outside NCVO, particularly: special thanks to Rei Kanemura for the chapter on volunteering, thanks for support to Henry Allingham, Catherine Goodall, Sally Malam, Alex Farrow, Rupinder Dhaliwal and Sean O'Brien.

The salary report, included in the Almanac for the first time this year, was written in partnership with staff at CharityJob.

Special thanks to Asmitha Maharaj and Lucy Hardy for the analysis and section on CharityJob salaries.

Many thanks to Claire Griffiths, CharityJob and Michelle Brister, NCVO for support with the data partnership.

About NCVO

With over 17,000 members, NCVO is the largest membership body for the voluntary sector in England.

We support voluntary organisations, social enterprises and community interest companies, from large national bodies to community groups working at a local level.

We aim to provide our members with the best quality evidence base to help them inform policy and practice, and plan for the future.

About CharityJob

CharityJob is the UK’s leading specialised job board for non-profit, non-governmental organisations (NGO), social enterprise, CIC and voluntary roles, drawing on more than two decades of insight and experience to align organisations with talent.

We help charities find people who share their purpose quickly, easily and fairly, through a wide range of practical free tools, including:

  • CharityJob Recruiter (an end-to-end hiring platform)
  • a salary checker
  • anonymous recruitment.

We also provide a personal, tailored service from experts.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 12 October 2023