We're currently in BETA, please let us know your feedback on the new website Send feedback

About Civil Society Media

Civil Society Media is the UK’s only independent media company dedicated solely to supporting the charity sector.  We deliver essential information, expert analysis and thought leadership through high-quality printed and digital publications, training courses, and live events. 

Our output is honed using the insight of our audiences, our own specialist knowledge, and a deep understanding of charities derived from working collaboratively with a wide range of sector partners.

Civil Society Media was founded in 1990. Charity Finance was the first publication; Fundraising Magazine was acquired in 2005 and Governance & Leadership launched that same year. The Charity Awards launched in 2000. 

Our work is based on principles established by our late founder Daniel Phelan, whose core purpose was to help charities and other civil society organisations deliver sustainable public benefit. Dan’s legacy endures in our company culture and our products, and his vision continues to shape our strategy.

The purpose of our products is to support and strengthen individual charities and the sector as a whole.  As well as our own original content produced and edited by our nine-strong team of journalists and event programmers, we provide a platform for respected professional advisers and other experts to deliver specialist technical advice and guidance.  We curate the best content from around the web, and we facilitate conversations and peer learning among our audiences.

Our content informs, facilitates debate, empowers, champions and challenges charities to be the best they can be.

About civilsociety.co.uk

Civilsociety.co.uk is the online home for all our editorial content – news, blogs, in-depth features from our magazines, surveys, as well as exclusive online-only articles and rich media.

About Civil Society News

Civil Society News is our daily email news service, bringing all the most relevant and timely news from around the sector directly to readers’ inboxes every lunchtime.  Created by our expert, experienced team of reporters and editors, Civil Society News prides itself on its comprehensive coverage of sector issues and its record of breaking exclusive stories.  

Our independence means we can ask the important questions and report the answers without fear or favour. We hold public and private sector organisations to account for their decisions affecting charities and we hold charities to account for their decisions affecting their beneficiaries and supporters. 

About our publications

  • Charity Finance

    Charity Finance magazine is the essential resource for everyone interested in the financial side of running a charity.  Published ten times a year, it combines technical, legal and regulatory updates with exclusive research and analysis, interviews with sector leaders, examples of best practice and other in-depth features to help you develop your strategic financial capabilities and enhance your leadership prospects.  See ‘About our research’ below to find details of Charity Finance’s research programme. Charity Finance was first published in 1990 as NGO Finance, and was changed to Charity Finance in March 2001.


    Fundraising Magazine is the UK’s only printed magazine for professional charity fundraisers. It is packed with case studies of successful fundraising campaigns, how-to guides and the latest developments in all fundraising techniques, as well as interviews with and opinions from leaders in the sector.  Each issue also contains exclusive interviews with funders, revealing what kinds of projects they want to support and how much they are willing to grant.  Fundraising Magazine was acquired by Civil Society Media in 2005 (then called Professional Fundraising) and has been distributed to all individual members of the Institute of Fundraising as a member benefit since 2014.

    Governance & Leadership

    Published as Governance magazine for its first ten years, in 2016 we changed the title to Governance & Leadership in recognition of the fact that good governance is as much the responsibility of executive leadership teams as trustee boards.  Published every two months, Governance & Leadership provides a news roundup, updates on law and regulation, and keeps readers informed about changes to the external environment in which their charities operate.  Regular columnists offer a variety of perspectives and opinions on the issues facing charities, the People & Culture section covers the role of culture and values in organisational success, and a ‘Dear Andrew’ column from former Charity Commission chief executive Andrew Hind answers readers’ questions about governance.

    Charity Finance Yearbook

    Now in its 21st year, the annual Charity Finance Yearbook is the ultimate reference source for charity finance professionals.  Produced by the Charity Finance editorial and research team it includes updates, advice and trends on accounting and audit, VAT and taxation, investment and banking, social investment, risk, funding, performance and governance, law and regulation, HR and pensions, IT and property. 

    SORP Compliance Checklist

    The Charity Finance SORP Compliance Checklist is a comprehensive working document that crystallises essential reporting responsibilities for the busy charity practitioner or adviser. It has been designed specifically for use by all UK charities preparing accruals-based accounts. 

    Using the checklist could not be simpler. A step-by-step journey through the detailed requirements of the 2015 Statement of Recommended Practice on accounting by charities ensures correct treatment and disclosure throughout the financial statement. This practical resource also acts as an invaluable aid for charitable companies faced with harmonising SORP and Companies Act requirements. 


About our events

  • Charity Finance Summit

    The Charity Finance Summit is our flagship conference for senior finance professionals and their teams, and combines two previously standalone events – the Charity VAT & Tax Conference and the Charity Investment Conference, with a third stream on Risk and Strategy. 
    Celebrating its tenth year, the Summit has grown and evolved into the premier event in the charity finance calendar. Attended by more than 400 delegates annually, the conference balances technical, gritty accounting and tax topics with strategic and ‘bigger picture’ views, as well as a lively exhibition and plenty of networking opportunities.  

    Charity Investment Forum

    The Charity Investment Forum and dinner is a residential, invitation-only event for charities with investment assets in excess of £5m. Now in its 14th year, and annually attended by over 100 charity finance directors, chairs, trustees and chief executives responsible for investment portfolios, the forum helps charities shape their strategies and maximise returns. 

    Attendance is free for qualifying charities thanks to the ongoing support of our sponsors from leading investment management firms, and includes the pre-forum dinner, overnight accommodation, and the forum seminars. The event combines high-level investment insight with ample opportunities to meet and discuss problems with peers and charity investment professionals in a relaxed environment away from the hustle and bustle of busy life. 

    Charity Property Conference

    The Charity Property Conference is the only forum in the charity sector specifically addressing the needs of those responsible for property management.  Previously part of the Charity Finance Summit, and now as a standalone event, this one-day conference attracts over 120 senior charity professionals annually.  Now celebrating its tenth year, the event has been carefully designed to provide a platform for strategic review, and to ensure charities are unlocking the potential from their property portfolios and keeping abreast of economic developments, changes in legislation, evolving working practices and developments in technology. 

    The programme balances technical sessions and practical charity case studies with tailored roundtable discussions and plenty of networking opportunities. 

    Fundraising Live

    Fundraising Live, now in its third year, is a vibrant, challenging and inspirational event which has been deliberately designed to provide a platform for discussion around the issues that arise in our monthly publication Fundraising magazine. 

    Developed for a community of fundraisers who are dedicated to best practice, innovation and the causes they represent, this conference represents a valuable opportunity to discuss their daily challenges and to celebrate their successes.  We incorporate a lively speed-networking session with three different streams which tailor content relevant to small charities, large charities, and fundraising directors.  

    Fundraising First Thing

    Fundraising First Thing is a series of breakfast debates which run in conjunction with issues raised in our magazine Fundraising. Sessions run from 9am until 11.30am and involve pithy presentations from experts in the field, and encourage high-level discussion and sharing among a small audience. 

    Trustee Exchange

    Over the past nine years, Trustee Exchange has evolved and grown into a unique forum for trustees and executive teams to find solutions to shared charity governance issues and exchange knowledge and experience with each other. Developed in conjunction with our bi-monthly publication Governance & Leadership the purpose of this one-day conference is to provide an open forum for discussion and debate. 

    The agenda comprises of inspirational plenary speakers and interactive breakout sessions across four different streams so that attendees can tailor the day to suit their level of knowledge and specific interests. Workshops and technical briefings focus on developments across key subject areas including Fundraising & Communications, Finance, Compliance and People & Culture. The ethos of the day remains the same, to connect and inspire people committed to good governance, and incorporates plenty of networking opportunities including a seated lunch and a lively drinks reception.

    Charity People & Culture Conference

    Charity People & Culture is an inspirational one-day conference designed for anyone responsible for managing people, and annually attracts over 200 senior HR professionals, CEOs and other charity managers. This event is about instilling a positive working culture and putting in place the right strategies, processes and systems necessary to build motivated and effective teams who in turn can have the biggest possible impact on an organisation’s beneficiaries. 

    We have developed this conference over the past three years in response to a significant shift in the sector recognising the important link between a charity’s culture and its effectiveness. Designed to address unique challenges facing charities, the agenda combines essential updates on changing employment law and HR practice with innovative ideas to foster wellbeing, boost staff engagement and deliver positive culture change. 

    Charity Technology Conference

    The Charity Technology Conference has developed and evolved over the last 11 years into an inspirational event offering a unique opportunity for charity IT and digital leaders to share their challenges and successes around using technology to deliver impact. This conference, now in its eleventh year, reflects the fast-paced, ever-evolving nature of the technology landscape and attracts over 300 senior charity professionals annually. 

    The agenda consists of insightful plenary sessions, interactive breakouts, the latest product demonstrations, a lively exhibition and networking drinks reception. Sessions cover a broad array of topics across the themes of data, digital, strategy and leadership, and a balance of charity case studies and technical expertise in order for delegates to tailor their day to best suit their organisation’s priorities.  

    NGO Insight

    NGO Insight is a new, a one-day conference focusing on the practical aspects of running international NGOs.  The programme has been developed in response to in-depth research with sector professionals and specifically designed to address the unique challenges facing organisations working in international development.  The aim is to create a lively and relaxed forum for open discussion and incorporates ample opportunities for networking. 

    Aimed at finance, programmes, HR and other senior operational roles within the international sector, sessions range across technical finance briefings, roundtable discussions and challenging panel debates, in order for delegates to tailor their day to best suit their organisation’s priorities.

About our research

  • Charity Shops Survey

    The Charity Shops Survey is the definitive analysis of how the UK's charity shop chains are performing . It includes detailed financial benchmarking data for around 80 chains, revealing: 
    •    Overall profits
    •    Income sources such as donated goods, bought-in goods, rag and gift aid
    •    Costs such as shop rents and staffing
    •    Volunteer numbers

    Charity Audit Survey

    The Audit Survey is Charity Finance's longest-running survey, and has been widely credited with helping to suppress audit-fee inflation. It lists:
    •    The top audit firms serving the sector and their fee revenue
    •    The average audit fees paid by charities of different sizes
    •     Ratings for how satisfied charities are with their auditors' performance

    Charity Fund Management Survey

    Charity Finance's Fund Management Survey provides an in-depth insight into in the investment firms serving the sector, as well as the latest trends in fund management. Using data provided by all of the major firms, it reveals:
    •    Which have the most charity clients
    •    How much they invest on their behalf
    •    The latest thinking on issues such as socially responsible investment 

    Charity Pooled Funds Survey

    Most charities do not have sufficient funds to invest on a segregated basis, making pooled funds their gateway into the markets. However, even larger investors these days recognise that pooled funds offer an easy means for diversification and cost-efficiency. Even segregated investors may find that their managers have stationed large portions of their portfolio in pooled funds.
    This survey canvasses fund managers' views on:
    •    The merits of pooled versus segregated investment
    •    The merits of charity-specific pooled funds such as the new Charity Authorised Investment Fund (CAIF), compared to those on the wider market
    •    Risk and return characteristics of pooled funds

    Chief Executives Survey

    Our biennial guide to the chief executives running the UK's 100 largest charities, revealing who they are as well as their backgrounds, gender, pay levels and thoughts on the role.

    Finance Directors Survey

    Our biennial guide to the people guarding the purse-strings of the UK's 100 largest charities, revealing who they are as well as their backgrounds, gender and thoughts on the role.

    Charity Banking Survey

    The Charity Banking Survey is an in-depth guide to the banks serving the non-profit sector. It includes:
    •    What banks are most popular among charities in different income categories
    •    Which banks score the highest ratings for customer satisfaction
    •    Analysis of mergers and acquisitions in the banking marketplace
    •    Charity views on ethical banking

    Fundraising Directors Survey

    This biennial list of the fundraising directors at the top 100 charities is the go-to reference resource for top performers in the sector. Ranked by voluntary income raised at each organisation, the survey shines a spotlight on the most successful income generators and provides insight into the current demographic make-up of the sector’s senior management.

    50 Most Influential People in Fundraising

    Our annual list of the most influential people in fundraising looks at who is having the most impact on the sector and why. The peer-nominated list is a popular (and slightly tongue-in-cheek) look at the big personalities in the industry and their contributions to its development.

    25 Under 35 – the Rising Stars of Fundraising

    This is our popular biennial list that focuses on the upcoming stars in fundraising. Nominated by their peers and selected by a judging panel, those on the list represent the cream of fundraising talent under the age of 35.

    CRM Survey

    With data gathered from hundreds of charities, this survey offers a snapshot of the current state of customer relationship management software in the sector – which providers and packages are the most popular and how they are performing. The list provides an essential overview for any organisation looking to acquire a new CRM package or overhaul its existing one.

About the Charity Awards

  • The Charity Awards is Civil Society Media’s annual awards programme held to identify, recognise and reward those organisations doing exceptional work in all areas of charitable activity.

    Now in its 17th year, the Charity Awards is a year-round programme that uses Civil Society Media’s portfolio of magazines, reports, events and websites to celebrate and highlight best practice across the sector.  It has its own website at charityawards.co.uk.

    The Charity Awards are judged by a respected panel of voluntary sector heavyweights, each of them leaders in their own fields with years of experience of leading and managing civil society organisations. The judges assess each entry against ten Hallmarks of Excellence – ten traits or attributes that should be present in any successful project. 
    Awards are given out in ten categories and an overall winner is chosen from the winners in each category.

    The 2016 shortlist was announced in May ahead of the awards ceremony and gala dinner on 9 June 2016.

About our Strategic Partners

  • Civil Society Media has identified a number of key partners - specialists in the charity sector across a range of disciplines - that we trust to help us deliver the best-quality information and advice to our audiences.  

    We work collaboratively with both charities and advertisers and believe it is only fair to prioritise our support to those who support us – providing always that the editorial quality of their contributions meets our stringent standards.




About civil society

  • According to the latest Civil Society Almanac produced by NCVO, there are 162,965 voluntary organisations in the UK, with a total income of £43.8bn and total spending of £41.7bn.

    The biggest chunk of income comes from individuals - £19.4bn – while the government provides £15bn of the sector’s funding.
    Spending on charitable activities, excluding grants, totalled £30.1bn, with spending on grants £5.3bn.  The sector spent £5.4bn to generate income and just under £1bn on governance.

    The sector has net assets of £105.1bn.    

    Charities employ 827,000 people and at least 14 million people volunteer once a month or more.  Nearly two-thirds of employees are full-time and 38 per cent are part-time; 66 per cent are female and 34 per cent male.

    Universities, quangos, housing associations and independent schools are also registered charities but aren’t really part of the loose and baggy monster that is the voluntary sector.



We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Read our policy here.