2015 publications

Social Landscape

The state of charities and
social enterprises in 2015


This is the first year that CAF and ACEVO have produced the Social Landscape report. Our aim is to gain a unique insight into the voluntary sector from the perspective of its Chief Executives; to understand the challenges faced and to assess the impact such challenges have on the sector’s ability to meet the needs of its beneficiaries.

Charities across the country are fighting to stay afloat as they struggle to raise money and meet ever increasing demand, according to new research by CAF and ACEVO.

One in seven (15%) charity chief executives say their organisation is ‘struggling to survive’, growing to one in five (21%) among smaller charities (those with an income less than £1m per year) which make up more than 95% of the sector.

A third of charities (32%) have dipped into their reserves to cover income shortfalls in the last year, according to the survey of 572 voluntary sector chief executives.

These financial worries come as demand for charity services grows, with over three quarters (78%) of charities seeing an increase in the last year and 83% anticipating a rise over the next twelve months.

Generating income and achieving financial sustainability is the biggest challenge currently facing charities, with 60% of chief executives citing this as one of their most pressing issues.

But there is evidence that charities are teaming up with other voluntary groups or private companies, potentially to help cut costs and make their work more effective.

The report also shows:

  • 38% of chief executives are pessimistic about overall economic conditions, whilst only 30% are optimistic
  • Seven in ten charities have brought in outside help in the last year or plan to do so in the next twelve months
  • 55% have collaborated with other charities and 28% have worked with private sector organisations in the last year

Download the report 'Social Landscape - the state of charities and social enterprises in 2015'.

Back to top