I was invited to attend the launch of The Civil Society Almanac 2019 launched by NCVO at Cazenove last week. As always, the almanac needs to be interpreted through the lens of the wider social/political climate. Indeed, the sector continues to live through challenging times and as Karl Wilding, the CEO designate of NCVO shared, it is not just poorly run organisations that are struggling, but good ones as well.
The sector faces myriad challenges including scepticism about philanthropy, fragile consumer confidence, struggling public sector procurement contracts and of course the implications of Brexit. One of the areas really affecting charities is the squeeze on local authority funding which is causing even hitherto wealthy authorities to struggle. And whilst the CBI has been firm in saying that business needs certainty, this equally applies to charities.
On the positive side, and there are always positives, Karl suggests that we are at an inflexion point where many of the baby boomer generation are leaving their legacies to charities and this is reflected in the Almanac with legacies having grown by 50% over the last 5 years. Furthermore, Karl made the point that the market for ethical goods and services has quadrupled in recent years which means that people still want to engage with purposeful organisations.
Whilst there are nuances with the funding mix, it is the case that total income to the sector went up by 2% to over £50bn and grant income increased by 5% to a record high of £7bn. Assets grew by 4% to £131bn and it is still the case that 1 in 5 people volunteer on a monthly basis, a statistic we can all be very proud of.
For more information on the Almanac please visit: https://data.ncvo.org.uk/