The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has published some data on small charities in the UK, based on the UK Civil Society Almanac 2018.

NCVO defines ‘micro’ and ‘small’ charities as those with an income under £10,000 and £100,000 respectively. Although these organisations are not required to report in such financial detail to the Charity Commission, some information is available as part of the Almanac.

Though small, these charities are mighty: there are 136,000 of them, which makes up 82% of all charities. More than half of them (58%) have an income under £10,000. There are also many organisations that are too small to register and therefore their data is not captured. In fact, some research estimates the presence of an additional 600,000 to 900,000 of such unincorporated groups and organisations.

As you would expect, 79% of the smaller organisations work in their local area (rather than on a national or international level), with only 6% working overseas. Small charities are more likely to operate in rural areas, such as Cornwall.

Despite their size, smaller charities cover a diverse range of areas of work and activities. Similar to larger charities, the greatest number of small charities work in social services (25,500) and culture and recreation (19,700). They also make up more than 94% of all Parent Teacher Associations, village halls and scout groups.

Unfortunately the last decade has not been kind to smaller charities, as they have seen a 20% decrease in their overall income, while income has increased by 30% for major and super-major organisations.

Interestingly, the funding that small charities receive differs from larger charities. Small charities receive 58% of their income from individuals, with only 15% coming from government, whereas larger organisations receive a higher proportion from the government and lower from individuals.


Statistics from NCVO.

You can get your copy of the Civil Society Almanac for £30 from the NCVO website, and get a brief overview of the data here.