George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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8 April 2019

Download the Charity Landscape 2019 report here.

A new report into the state of the charity sector reveals that 83% of charities saw increased demand for their services over the last 12 months, whilst 92% of charities feel they will be expected to fill gaps in the provision of public services. 59% also believe that over the next five years government will view charities as a nuisance for criticising their policies.

The Charity Landscape report – released by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) – asks leaders in the charity industry key questions about the political and social landscape they operate in.

The report found that 83% of charities have seen an increase in demand for their services over the last 12 months, whilst 86% expect this to continue over the next 12 months.

Nearly six in 10 (59%) of charity leaders think that the sector has been badly impacted by recent negative media stories, whilst around seven in 10 agree that most people do not understand the importance of charities to public life. Just over a third (35%) thinks that charities are good at demonstrating their impact to the public.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Generating more income continues to be the top challenge for 59% of charity leaders (62% in 2017), followed by meeting demand for services (unchanged at 33%) and reduction in public/government funding (32% and 29% in 2017)
  • Only around a fifth (21%) of charity leaders feel that over the next five years, government will value charities for their advocacy role and ability to offer constructive challenge, instead tending to see them as service providers – nearly all (92%) agree that they will be expected to fill in gaps in public service provision
  • At the time of the fieldwork (November 2018) most charity leaders felt that Brexit would have a negative impact on their charity (63%)


Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at the Charities Aid Foundation comments:

“All organisations are operating in a difficult political and social landscape at the moment; the charity sector is no exception to this.

“Charity leaders have spoken with a united and clear voice, emphasising several key points. They are fearful of the impact that Brexit will have, for example on staff retention and the ongoing funding that allows them to provide services for those who need them.

“Despite this, there are reasons to be optimistic. 87% of charity leaders are investing in technological innovation in order to meet the evolving needs of their beneficiaries, reflecting a strong desire to plan ahead for the future.”

Notes to editors

The survey was conducted by CAF, working in partnership with Acevo. It was conducted online from 5 November to 30 November 2018 and received responses from 452 third sector leaders who are customers of CAF Bank or members of ACEVO, ACOSVO and CO3 (organisations which represent civil society leaders).

We would like to thank the participants for their time in completing the survey.

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