George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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21 June 2018

Recent research shows that the British public mostly believes that small charities are having a positive impact on our society, even if they struggle to name any small charities themselves. 

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)’s data indicates that nearly two thirds of people (62%) think small charities have had a positive impact on their local community and a quarter (24%) say that this impact has been ‘very positive’. This is despite awareness of specific small charities being low, with 64% of respondents saying they weren’t sure or couldn’t name any small charities.

CAF commissioned YouGov who polled 1,086 adults aged 16+ in May 2018, ahead of Small Charity Week which began on Monday 18th June. 

People associate small charities with being local (41%), having a small staff (13%), working within a niche cause (11%), and having a low turnover (10%). 7% define a small charity as either being staffed entirely by volunteers or where 100% of money raised goes to the cause.

Elsewhere, 63% report having done something for a small charity in the past (donating money, giving goods, sponsoring someone, volunteering, or helping to fundraise). Looking ahead to the future, a willingness to help out is high, especially through giving goods (64%), donating money (58%) and sponsoring someone (49%).

A generational divide shows that whilst young people are less likely than older people to have donated money to a small charity in the past, they are particularly open to the possibility of volunteering for one in the future – 37% of 16-34 year olds said they are likely to do so. 

CAF’s Head of Research Susan Pinkney adds: 

“With Small Charity Week in full swing, it’s a good time to recognise the outstanding work that small charities do, whilst also getting a picture of how they’re perceived by the general public.

“It’s great that nearly two-thirds of those asked view small charities positively, but awareness is an issue, with 64% unable to name a single small charity. Clearly there’s work to be done and Small Charity Week has a prominent role to play in that.”

Notes to editors

  1. CAF is one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. It exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed. We are CAF and we make giving count.

  2. On behalf of CAF, YouGov polled 1,086 adults aged 16+ between 18th and 29th May 2018. The survey was conducted online and the sample is representative of known demographics including sex, age, region and social grade. 


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