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Views from charity leaders


Charity leaders reveal the challenges and opportunities they're facing.

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What is the CAF Charity Landscape report?

Each year CAF surveys charity leaders to understand the challenges they face, and to assess the impact these challenges have on the sector’s ability to meet the needs of its beneficiaries.

It is clear that 2020 has been a hugely challenging year for charities and civil society organisations (CSOs). With income streams drying up and an increased demand for services, organisations are facing extremely difficult choices. Learn more and discover recommendations for the future in the full report.

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Charity Landscape 2020 infographic

The obstacles and opportunities facing charity leaders

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The practicalities of being able to operate in a Covid secure way (33%) and managing social distancing restrictions (33%) are the next biggest challenges for the sector. For many charities, these concerns will not be easily overcome.

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Income challenges

More than half of charity leaders (55%) say that generating income and achieving financial stability is one of their top three challenges, although three in 10 (28%) do say that they now have more access to unrestricted funds than they did before the pandemic.

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Future crises

The majority of charity leaders (85%) agree that, over the next five years, charities will be expected to fill the gaps in public sector provision. However, only three in 10 (29%) agree that they will be seen as an important source of insight in planning ahead for future crises.

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Online fundraising

Three quarters of charity leaders (77%) believe that technological change is relevant but only one in five (18%) charity leaders say they know how to effectively manage online fundraising.

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Optimism for the future?

While most charity leaders are optimistic about their own organisations, fewer are optimistic about the future of the charity sector in general (28%).


The survey was undertaken by CAF. It was conducted online from 21 July to 4 August 2020 and received responses from 265 third sector leaders who are customers of CAF Bank. We would like to thank the participants for their time in completing the survey.

Previous reports

First published in 2015, our Charity Landscape report was previously called the Social Landscape report. All of our charity research and insight is free to view and download. Subscribe and be the first to hear about our latest research.

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2019 Charity Landscape Report

Our research with charity leaders reveals almost two-thirds believe that Brexit will have a negative impact on their work.

Read the report
Social Landscape 2018

Social Landscape report 2018

This report provides a unique insight into the voluntary sector from the perspective of its Chief Executives.

Read the report

Social Landscape Report 2017

Nearly one in five charities are 'struggling to survive', according to our report Social Landscape 2017.

Read the report
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