One in Five British Charities 'Struggling to Survive,' Study Finds

Nearly 20 percent of British charities are "struggling to survive," a new study by the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation finds.

Conducted by ACEVO, the report, Social Landscape 2017 (28 pages, PDF), surveyed CEOs of more than four hundred and seventy charities, social enterprises, and other voluntary organizations and found that 18 percent say their organization is struggling to survive. That concern is greatest among smaller charities, with CEOs at 28 percent of organizations with an annual income of below £1 million ($1.24 million) fearing for their organization's survival. Of the CEOs surveyed, 35 percent said their organizations had to dip into reserves last year to cover budget shortfalls.

In addition, an overwhelming majority (82 percent) of the CEOs surveyed said their organizations saw an increase in demand for services over the past twelve months, while an ever greater number (86 percent) expect to see demand for services grow over the next twelve months. However, only 14 percent of the CEOs said they were completely confident their organizations could cope with that demand.

The CEOs surveyed cited, as their biggest challenges, generating more income and achieving financial sustainability (57 percent), meeting demand for services (36 percent), and cuts in government funding (34 percent). "In 2017, charities are facing ever-growing pressure on already-stretched resources," said CAF chief executive John Low. "They are less confident than they were a year ago that they'll be able to meet this demand. In some cases, they are being stretched to breaking point. Faced with tough times, charities are restructuring, reducing staff, and in some cases adapting their mission."

"Nearly One in Five Charities 'Struggling to Survive'." Charities Aid Foundation Press Release 02/28/2017.