Majority of grassroots charities report negative impact from cost-of-living crisis

21 May 2024 News


Just over 85% of grassroots charities said their income had been negatively affected by the cost-of-living crisis, according to the results of a new survey. 

Easyfundraising’s survey results show that 86% of grassroots charities and causes said the impact of the economic crisis had worsened in 2023. 

At the same time, 61% said that demands and costs at their organisations are rising, with 43% saying that they were fundraising primarily towards everyday running costs. 

Indeed, 61% of respondents said that they spent donations from the fundraising platform on covering operational expenses. 

One survey respondent said: “After 15 years running this charity seamlessly, it has become harder than ever to keep the financial side of things solvent.”

Of the grassroots charities and causes surveyed, 61% said that unrestricted funding was very important to the organisation, with only 4% saying it was “not at all”. 

‘Affecting the general public’s ability to give’

Claire Stanley, director of policy and communications at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, said: “The current economic climate has made things difficult for charities – and we know the cost-of-living crisis is affecting the general public, and their ability to give may be more limited than in previous years. 

“Innovation can be a key part of moving forward during these times – utilising digital fundraising platforms often makes giving easier and more efficient, particularly for younger donors who may be making more use of digital wallets. 

“Reaching out to donors and potential donors to show them where their donations are going can help them feel engaged in the giving process – particularly if it is for a local cause – and can be effective in encouraging more, or regular, donations in the future.”

‘Unsurprising’ findings

Sarah Vibert, CEO of NCVO, said: “It’s unsurprising that so many small charities have been so negatively impacted.

“The sector is still struggling as it grapples with a ‘triple threat’ of falling income, climbing costs, and increasing demand for services.

“For many charities, despite their resilience and ingenuity, this ‘cost of giving crisis’ has created a melting pot of pressures.

“The resilience, passion, and dedication of small charities in the face of challenging operating climates has ensured that essential services continue to reach people in need.

“The danger is, without better support soon and properly funded charity grants and contracts many people won’t be able to access the vital services they rely on.” 

Grassroots charities ‘need our support more than ever’

James Moir, chief executive of easyfundraising, said: “It’s not often we know how grassroots charities and causes across the UK are faring and it’s clear they need our support more than ever. 

“Our survey results show we need to support our smaller charities and causes as much as possible. They are the glue that holds our communities together and we need to do all we can to help.”

There were over 1,180 responses to the easyfundraising survey which was conducted in February 2024. 

Some 45% of respondents were small, hyper-local causes and charities with a turnover of less than £5,000 per year. A further 20% had an annual turnover of less than £20,000. 

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