The UK charity sector is large, complex and diverse. There are estimated to be over 165,000 charities with an income totalling more than £73.1 billion. They are active in social services, culture and recreation, education, health, environment, housing, employment and training, law and development. 

The sector has been described as having undergone “Tesco-isation” – the top 1.3% of charities get 73% of the sector’s income. 4 in 10 charities earned less than £10,000 in 2016 and many are struggling to survive.

Charities are facing a tsunami of challenges; as the demographic profile of the UK changes so will the profile of donors, volunteers and those in need of their services.

Technology is having a huge effect on fundraising with new digital channels from apps to online-giving replacing the traditional bucket collection. The political landscape has also changed – services once provided by central and local government are now contracted to charities to provide under a new commissioning and payment-by-results set up.  And we’ve seen some high profile failures, with charities such as Kids Company, Lifeline and 4Children struggling to deliver in this new environment. On the other hand, charities are criticised for being over-professionalised, paying high salaries, spending too much on backroom activities, their fundraising tactics and for being too political.

Download our breakfast presentation to see our view of how the sector has changed in recent years, the trends that will affect its future and what charities may have to do to survive the profound economic, social and technological challenges they face.