Quarter of people used a small charity due to cost-of-living pressures, research finds 

24 Jun 2024 News


A quarter of people have used a small charity because they needed support with the pressures caused by the cost-of-living crisis, new research has found.

In response to a survey commissioned by NCVO, 15% of people said they had used a small charity because “they had nowhere else to turn to” and 17% said that public services were insufficient.

NCVO called on whichever party forms the next government following the general election on 4 July to support and fund small charities as a priority.

This comes on the first day of Small Charity Week, which runs until Friday.

Research findings 

Two thirds of people said small charity closures caused by underfunding would have a negative impact on their community. 

One in three respondents described small charities as under supported, under resourced, essential and a lifeline.

A third of people said they had used a community-based food bank in the last year, with nearly a quarter having to rely on them as frequently as once a week.

The main reason respondents gave for using a small charity in the last year was to meet new people (29%), with 19% having used advice and support centres.

Some 22% said they had accessed animal shelters in their community and 13% said they used a small charity because they were experiencing loneliness.   

Meanwhile, 47% said they thought the government should do more to support small charities, while 48% said it should be easier for small charities to get funding.

Some 29% said that the public should donate more money to charities if they can,  while 19% said it should be made easier for people to volunteer for a small charity.

‘Charities must be heard’

NCVO’s chief executive Sarah Elliott (formerly Vibert) said: “Today’s findings are a stark reminder that small charities in local communities, often those with the least resources, are plugging the financial gap caused by the cost of living crisis millions of people in this country are grappling with.

“It’s clear that many are accessing small charities for regular support for essential issues like being able to eat and feed their families.   

“Every day small charities are making a big difference, but they need better support and more volunteers to be able to stay open and continue the work that so many people depend on. Small charities are not just nice to have, they provide services that underfunded public services can no longer do. 

“As the country gears up to choose the next government, charities must be heard, recognised and given the support they need to ensure communities are stronger tomorrow than they are today.” 

Market research firm Opinion Matters carried out the survey, which drew 2,051 responses. 

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