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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Small charities living in fear of closure

This news post is over 8 years old

Local charities are being stretched to breaking point - and many will go to the wall.

Small charities and community groups are being stretched to absolute capacity, leading to fears about their future.

A report has found that 81% of local charities are facing an increase in demand for services, but only 15% feel sufficiently resourced to meet that demand.

Almost half say they could fold in the next five years.

The findings were published in the Local Charity & Community Group Sustainability Report, commissioned by Localgiving, which surveyed 538 voluntary sector organisations from across the UK.

Without significant intervention, fewer organisations will be able to continue their valuable work

It found that 73% of local groups expect their annual income to either decrease or remain stagnant over the coming financial year and 59% rate income generation as their most pressing issue.

Meanwhile, 42% of groups have had to use their reserves in the last 12 months, 43% are concerned about a lack of reserves and whilst only 4% are able to prioritise building reserves.

Only 47% of local groups are confident that they will be able to stay financially afloat over the next five years and 53% of respondents say they know of at least one other local charity in their area that has closed for financial reasons in the last year.

The survey found that 76% of local charities believe they do not currently have the skills to run a successful fundraising campaign.

Localgiving’s study has been released to coincide with the launch of Grow Your Tenner – a national match fund campaign doubling online donations made to UK local charities and community groups by up to £10.

The campaign is part of Localgiving's Incentivised Giving Programme, a long-term initiative to help raise awareness of the sector and build practical online fundraising skills for local charities.

Grow Your Tenner runs from until the match fund is fully allocated, or 5pm on 18 November 2015. The campaign offers each local group taking part the opportunity to access up to £10,000 of match funding.

Stephen Mallinson, chief executive of Localgiving said: “A rapid increase in demand for services, coupled with an inability to access sufficient funding with which to build reserves has left many local groups with fears over their survival. The sector is lacking in both time and resources, leaving charities unable to invest in alternative income sources, training and volunteer recruitment. Without significant targeted intervention, fewer and fewer organisations will be able to continue their valuable work, weakening communities and leaving huge numbers of vulnerable beneficiaries at risk.

“It is vital that strategies are put in place to help better support the sector and address its core issues. Government, industry, philanthropists and the general public can and should all play a part. This means sustained commitment to training, funding and volunteering that outlasts ephemera like annual budgets.

“Localgiving is working to implement initiatives, such as Grow Your Tenner, to address the problems highlighted by this report. Our hope is that through these programmes, we can help to raise awareness and provide motivation for greater engagement and support to safeguard the future of local charities and the beneficiaries they serve."

The survey was conducted on a national scale and includes respondents from all regions of the UK.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were not well represented with just 6% of the overall sample (33 groups).