One fifth of charities with an income of less than £1m are “struggling to survive”, according to the Charity Landscape report 2019 from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).
A smaller percentage, 14 per cent, of charities of all sizes feel the same.
CAF surveyed 238 leaders of charities with incomes of less than £1m, and a total of 452 charity leaders in November 2018.
'Difficult political and social landscape'
The survey found that nearly all charities (92 per cent) expected to fill gaps in public service provision.
Only a fifth of leaders believed government would value their advocacy work and the constructive challenges they offered in the next five years.
The charities instead agreed that government would view them more as service providers.
Susan Pinkney, head of Research at CAF said: “All organisations are operating in a difficult political and social landscape at the moment; the charity sector is no exception to this.”
In terms of negative media attention, the percentage of charities that feel badly impacted by the media is unchanged since CAF's Social Landscape 2017 report, at 59 per cent.
In terms of Brexit, nearly two thirds of charity leaders (63 per cent) said Britain's departure from the EU would be bad for their organisations.
Pinkney said: “[Charity leaders] are fearful of the impact that Brexit will have, for example on staff retention and the ongoing funding that allows them to provide services for those who need them."
She added: “Despite this, there are reasons to be optimistic.”
Planning for the future
A quarter of charities supported the idea that media support and success stories could help rebuild public trust, and around one fifth believed there should be more transparency in the sector.
Pinkney said the high percentage (87 per cent) of charity leaders investing in technological innovation to meet evolving needs from their beneficiaries reflected a strong desire to plan ahead for the future.
However, less than half of all charities, and only 38 per cent of small charities, have a strategy in place for dealing with technological change.
Allthough the report says nearly all charities (95 per cent) have increased or plan to increase their social media presence, activities and campaigns.