“With costs climbing, funding falling and demand increasing, this is not just a cost of living crisis. For charities, this is a Cost of Giving Crisis.”
This is the introduction to the latest research from NCVO that highlights the issues facing charities and community organisations across the country.
Their headline results show that:
1. 85% of charities they spoke to in a recent survey said this winter will be as tough – or even tougher (54%) than it was last year.
2. If our sector doesn’t get the support it urgently needs, 1 in 5 charities could be forced to close until things improve, leaving people and communities at risk.
This is all driven by the perfect storm of costs climbing, funding falling and demand increasing.
The sad thing about this is that it does not come as a surprise to those of us here at Support Cambridgeshire. Across the county we have been seeing these trends for a while now and the findings are backed up by our most recent research which was conducted over 8 months ago.
Even back in February of this year we were seeing a marked drop in optimism, with only 43% of groups believing the next year would be better than the last. (compared to 59% the previous year). We were also seeing 85% of groups reporting that a lack of funding would be a barrier to their ability to deliver.
On almost the same day that NCVO launched their campaign, we also saw the latest results from the Nottingham Trent University Barometer Survey. The report entitled ‘A tale of two sectors’ shows that bigger organisations with an income over £100K are finding it easier to navigate the crisis than the smaller ones. Those smaller organisations are faring less well financially and they also report that:
“The great volunteering decline nationally is hitting small charities hard – almost six in ten (59%) small charities report that recruiting volunteers is a major concern for them, compared to 15% of large charities.”
This mirrors our local research. We know that over 80% of Cambridgeshire registered charities have an income below £100K and that many are struggling. We also know that locally, after funding, the biggest barrier faced by charities is recruiting volunteers with 73% of organisations indicating this is an issue for them.
The barometer survey highlights real issues for the paid workforce, and whilst nationally this is growing quicker than in the private sector, we know locally many organisations are struggling to recruit. The research indicated that nationally 30% of charities were reporting increased levels of burn out and 25% were seeing higher sickness absence. This is not a surprise to us. We are seeing more groups reporting issues with recruiting staff, 54% saw this as an issue that was impacting on their work this year, up from 35% last year.
But we also had groups sharing feedback like:
“All staff are over stretched”.
“Feeling overstretched and undertrained for the job”.
“Staff [don’t have the] ability to work the hours we need”.
These findings are echoed in our day-to-day work supporting local groups. Staff at all levels, especially those that are running small organisations, are feeling stretched and burnt out, and we are seeing higher levels of turnover than ever before.
What can we do?
Support Cambridgeshire fully supports NCVO in their campaign to raise the issues facing the sector at a national level. But this is not enough. We need to be raising this locally. We will be making sure that local councillors and those across all the local statutory sectors are aware of what they will lose if there is not sufficient support for local organisations.
- We need to see more co-ordinated support for the sector.
- We need to see longer term funding to ensure the sector can plan and remain sustainable.
- We need there to be an understanding of what is lost every time a group closes or is unable to take on more clients.
The sector is no longer simply nice to have, it is an essential part of the safety net that individuals and communities rely on, and if the sector is unable to offer that support, more people will fall though the net and increase the demands they make on statutory and health services that are also at capacity.
Support Cambridgeshire partners are here to help.
Both Hunts Forum and CCVS are there for all groups across the county. Here is a taste of how we can help.
Help with Funding.
We can offer advice on how to diversify your income. We can help with funding applications by acting as a critical friend. You can visit Support Cambridgeshire 4 Community to find both local and national funders. https://funding.idoxopen4community.co.uk/supportcambs
Help with volunteering.
Volunteer Cambs – visit the new website developed to help recruit and manage volunteers. https://www.volunteercambs.org.uk/
We can help you to improve how you manage and recruit volunteers through training, one to one support and networks.
General help and support.
Have a look at our extensive training offer https://supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/training/whats-on/
Come along to one of our network events to get hints and tips and learn from other organisations. https://supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/relationships/
Individual support and advice. Contact us and we can help with issues and problems, even if we don’t know the answer we probably know who best to ask to get the help you need. email@example.com
Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with all the latest news. https://supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/about/subscribe/
 Read more on the NCVO website https://www.ncvo.org.uk/get-involved/cost-of-giving-crisis/
 Read more and see the reports on our website https://supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/news/state-sector-survey/
 The VCSE Barometer is developed and delivered by NTU’s VCSE Data and Insights National Observatory in partnership with Pro Bono Economics. It is supported by the major UK national VCSE infrastructure organisations and membership bodies.https://www.ntu.ac.uk/research/groups-and-centres/projects/vcse-data-and-insights-national-observatory/vcse-barometer-survey