Building the Third Sector Evidence Base: Data capture from accounts of registered charities and associated knowledge exchange activities

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Third Sector Research Centre

Abstract

Our focus is on improving the evidence base for the third sector, and improving the use of evidence by the sector. The project addresses concerns about the absence of relevant, timely and high-quality data on the financial position and resources of charities. There is a need for longer term and large-scale investment on a UK-wide basis (the focus here is on England and Wales); this project builds on a long history of existing work in this area by TSRC and NCVO with the intention of increasing the sector's engagement with, and use of, evidence.

In the words of Lester Salamon, the leading international scholar of the third sector, "valid and reliable statistics will enhance the visibility and credibility of voluntary organisations, contribute to improved transparency and accountability of the sector and of government, and provide empirical context for decision making and policy development". The Office for National Statistics, the Office for Civil Society, and the academic community in this field are all supportive of these efforts.

We will carry out three strands of activity:

1. Data resource construction
We will capture data for a representative sample of c.10,000 charities in England and Wales. By the end of the funding period we will be able to track charities over a ten-year period. This will be a unique and powerful data resource for insight. The sample is representative of the population of English and Welsh charities and provides reasonably robust estimates of the resources of all charities. We capture information from the notes to charities accounts, describing where they get their income from (e.g. giving the names of their funders such as particular local authorities, government departments or charitable foundations). We then classify this information so that we can clearly identify particular funding streams - especially public sector funders - so that we can also differentiate between grants and contracts.

2. Capacity-building
We will raise awareness of this data amongst charities, policy makers and funders and of its value for their work and decision-making. We will construct numerous relevant indicators of financial health/vulnerability in the voluntary sector.

We will produce learning resources and run events to build capacity in using the tools and data resources we develop. Organisations will be free to use our data in several ways: profiling charities in their geographical area; selecting entities with whom partnership working might be developed; considering the financial vulnerability of organisations; looking at indicators of distribution/growth of the charity population, and also at risk-based indicators such as exposure to particular funding streams.

3. Knowledge exchange
We will implement an engagement and communication strategy, producing accessible outputs and targeted communications, engaging strategically significant organisations to raise awareness, and publicising our activities through social media and the Internet; we will maximise impact upon large numbers of charities, funders, and policy-makers (e.g. NCVO has 11,000+ members).

Key features

Innovation and originality: the project will provide the basis of a data infrastructure on the characteristics, distribution and resources of charities in England and Wales, and the dynamics thereof, including changes over time.

Strategic priorities and value: the project contributes to the improvement of the social science data infrastructure. It will inform public debate and policy-making about the funding base for charities and inform and improve strategic decision-making.

Value added: the UK social science infrastructure currently lacks an authoritative evidence base on charities, which this project will provide. The project also adds value to the work by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on assessing the contribution of the non-profit sector to the national accounts.

Planned Impact

Our programme will generate datasets which will be of significant value to a range of national and international, interdisciplinary, academic audiences interested in substantive and theoretical understanding of the third sector, and in particular the flows of resources to, and the funding base of, third sector organisations.

This work will also be of central value to those working within the third sector. Our partnership is uniquely situated at the heart of the sector, allowing us to maximise awareness of, and engagement with, the evidence we will generate, and maximise the impact on voluntary organisations, policy-makers and researchers. Knowledge exchange activity will be led by NCVO, taking advantage of their extensive networks including c.11,000+ members, websites (approximately two million unique visitors each year across all of our websites), twitter (38,000 followers), blogs and newsletters. Equally, TSRC is embedded within academia, providing extensive links to researchers working on the third sector.

Building upon our previous five years of research, we will extend existing data resources on registered charities in England and Wales, so that by the end of the funding period we will have captured and classified some ten years of data on our sample of 10,000 charities. This will provide an unrivalled resource for the analysis of trends in the funding base of charities. It will be of value to researchers in a range of disciplines (Social Policy, Politics, Business and Management, Geography, Economics) who require authoritative evidence on the numbers and characteristics of third sector organisations as well as policy-makers and people working in the sector.

The data will be of considerable value to non-academic users, providing them with a new depth of analysis and insight. Organisations themselves will have a much clearer picture of which organisations, and where, are gaining or losing from changing funding streams and how this is changing over time. Claims in this sphere lack a strong evidence base; this project will provide it. Funders will have a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the local charitable sector, because we will be constructing datasets that are robust at the regional level, something that will enhance strategic decisions. We will construct indicators of the finances of the third sector, and the financial health of individual organisations, which will be of value to funders and individual organisations alike.

Government departments, local authorities, and the wider public policy community share an interest in reliable statistics on the voluntary sector. This project will provide robust evidence on a key element of that sector - registered charities in England and Wales. This will provide a sound platform for evidence-based debate and policy-making.

We will run a series of interactive and practical events, workshops and training sessions targeted at third sector organisations, policy-makers and funders to raise awareness of these datasets, build their capacity to engage with and use them in their work, and promote their wider use; the material from these events will subsequently be made available online to maximise engagement with its content.
 
Description One of the novel features of our work is that we have used the award to investigate the financial pressures being experienced by voluntary organisations in considerably more depth than previous work. For example we have looked at the financial trajectories of charities - which ones are experienced relative stability, which ones growth, or reductions in funding - over a fifteen-year timeframe. In contrast to sector perspectives which often suggest a generalised financial crisis, this work points to stability for the great majority of organisations. We have also been able to conduct survey analyses which we then contrast with organisations' own perceptions of their finances; this builds a richer picture of difficulties in accessing resources than is available from previous research. We have engaged in discussion with user communities around this, not least because there are dominant narratives in the field which posit a situation of serious jeopardy and loss; our work on organisation-level data suggest this is not always the case.

The findings of this work underpin the NCVO Almanac, and we have worked with them to make them accessible to non-specialist audiences. Over the period of the award, the data have been accessed, via NCVO's webpage, extensively - with over half a million users visiting the relevant pages. The data thus provide an essential point of reference for discussions about the state of the third sector, particularly in England and Wales.

This project has continued to develop TSRC's unique data resources. We now have the ability to track large numbers of organisations - some 2500 appearing continuously in each year for which we have been gathering accounts data - for over a decade of considerable organisational turbulence in the voluntary sector. This is a foundational resource for future scholarship which is being used extensively and which enables robust design of further prospective long-term studies of change. We have plans to link it to other potential sources of data enabling study of longitudinal change in the third sector since the late 1970s onwards.

Ongoing work is being done to explore the ways in which the data can influence the work of individual organisations. The data which we gather here is necessarily large-scale. Therefore there is a gap between the experience of an individual organisation (or of organisations in a particular community) and the pattern revealed by analysis of long-term trends. We have worked on this through various papers on organisation-level variations in the experience of funding changes over the past ten years, which have been presented to various international academic and practitioner conferences and enthusiastically received.
Exploitation Route By funders and policy makers, in the sense that they provide more nuanced evidence about the state of the finances of the voluntary sector than previously available. For example, there is a dominant narrative that suggests financial vulnerability is a function simply of size of organisations, whereas our work shows it is more complex than this; we stress age of organisation, location (particularly areas of disadvantage) and subsector (some fields of activity appear to experience greater vulnerability than others). We know that the data and evidence gathered by this work with NCVO - which has now been going on for nearly ten years - are used widely by other researchers. A recent example includes the inquiry into Civil Society Futures in the UK - this draws repeatedly on our own evidence and that of NCVO developed in the course of the present work programme. No other ESRC civil society / third sector investment features in their reports.

Our findings are therefore being used, but long-term investment in this field is crucial. No other work supported by ESRC or other funders is seeking to gather such evidence for the long term. Our work provides an essential base for this activity but it needs a consortium of funders and stakeholders to ensure that it is continued
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description The data which this project generates underpin the annual Almanac of civil society, produced by NCVO and a very widely-used reference point for third sector organisations, their funders and stakeholders, and policy-makers. the data have reached a very wide range of stakeholders, with the Almanac website from which users can access the data receiving some 200 000 "hits", taking the cumulative total for the duration of this project to over half a million. The Almanac dataset has been extensively used by academics: a search on Google Scholar indicates that the Almanac has been cited in some 300 journal articles over the period 2015 - 2019. In addition, we have provided on a number of occasions Almanac data to academics for specific research projects, including researchers from the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester for research conducted on non-government organisations operating overseas. The data are also used by ourselves on other funded research projects, e.g. two recent awards supported by NIHR and work by others supported by Lloyds Bank Foundation Looking beyond academia, there are references to the Almanac data and the Government's recent Civil Society Strategy and in the report - Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society - produced by the House of Lords select committee on charities in 2017. The Almanac is also quoted in the briefing on the voluntary sector compiled and regularly updated by the House of Commons library. Furthermore, the Almanac dataset is used by the Office of National Statistics to estimate the contribution of the voluntary sector to the economy and feeds into the UK National Accounts. Analysis of the dataset has also been key in informing Lloyds Bank Foundation's funding strategy and policy work on smaller charities following the publication of NCVO's Navigating Change report in 2016. Recent inquiries, such as that into Civil Society Futures, chaired by Julia Unwin, have also drawn extensively on these data sources. More recently, the work undertaken as part of this award featured strongly in TSRC's tenth anniversary event held in February 2019. in a brochure produced to mark the occasion, prominent stakeholders made statements such as the following which testify to the value of the work "TSRC's work has been invaluable. It mines down beyond the generalities to look at specific subsectors" (Caroline Slocock, Director, Civil Exchange) "The TSRC's [longitudinal work] is of enormous value because ...they enable us to reflect on long-term change and validate the experience of charities" (Lindsay Poole, Advice Services Alliance) "The TSRC evidence [drawing on our quantitative datasets] massively contributed to a public interest issue [in this case, high salaries in charities]. It enabled us to engage with the media confidently and with authority, and to go beyond the "you would say that, wouldn't you" scepticism" (NCVO senior staff) all of these findings and testimonials highlight the need for continued support for serious, long-term work on the evidence base for the third sector in the UK, something which is largely lacking from ESRC's current portfolio
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Appearance to give oral evidence before House of Lords Select Committee on charities, 1st November 2016.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/select-committee-on...
 
Description Evidence on the distribution, resources and characteristics of registered charities in England and Wales, drawing on collaborative work with David Clifford and Rose Lindsey
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/select-committee-on...
 
Description INvitation to chair the Voluntary Sector Data Conference, London, October 2018, delivered by Inside Government with support from the Fundraising Regulator, DataKind UK. the conference was designed to assess how voluntary organisations can manage, protect and utilise data to ensure high quality reuglatory compliance while maximising social impact.
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Quoted in report of House of Lords Select Committee on Charities, Stronger charities for a stronger society
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact Breeze's work was mentioned on multiple occasions in the final report of the House of Lords Select Committee final report on charity https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldchar/133/133.pdf para 156 re: donor concerns about transparency (cites Breeze evidence) para 232 & 236 re charities' difficulties in covering core costs (Breeze evidence) para 278 re need to simplify Gift Aid charity tax relief (Breeze evidence) para 359 re the potential for social media (Breeze & Body evidence) para 390 - on social investment (Breeze evidence) para 438 - importance of distributional consequences of philanthropy (Breeze & Body evidence)
URL https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldchar/133/133.pdf
 
Description Written evidence to House of Lords Select Committee on charities on the prevalence and distribution of high salaries in the charity sector in England and Wales
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/select-committee-on...
 
Description ALMANAC 2015 - CHARITY SECTOR RUNNING TO STAND STILL AS OVERALL FINANCIAL POSITION REMAINS STATIC 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Charity sector income and expenditure continued to flatline in 2012/13, new data published today by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations showed (1). The figures represent a continuation of the recent trend in the charity sector economy, which has plateaued at a level slightly below the peak it reached in 2007/8 after several years of rapid growth. The sector's total income fell by 0.2% on the previous year to £40.5bn, while total expenditure, considered the most reliable measure of activity, rose by 0.1% to £39.3bn. The figures, based on the latest authoritative data available, show that earned and voluntary income from individuals rose 1.4% to £18.8bn, while income from government, in the form of contracts and grants, fell by 3.4% to £13.3bn. In line with the trend of recent years, total earned income rose slightly, by 0.4%, to £22.7bn. Income from investments rose 0.6%, while the value of investment assets rose slightly, from £73.5bn to £76.6bn. All figures are in real terms.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.ncvo.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/907-charity-sector-running-to-stand-sti...
 
Description ALMANAC 2016: THE LATEST DATA ON THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The 15th edition of the UK Civil Society Almanac, once again providing a comprehensive overview of facts and figures related to the voluntary sector. Top 10 findings:
1. There has been a sharp rise in youth volunteering
2. The voluntary sector paid workforce rose once again to 827,000 in 2015
3. The value of the UK voluntary sector to the wider economy was £12.2bn in 2013/14
4. The number of charities with an income over £100m increased from 33 to 40 in 2013/14
5. There was a small increase in income to the sector this year, now standing at £43.8bn
6. Income from government increased slightly, by around £0.5bn
7. The sector continued to earn most of its income
8. Total spending for the sector rose slightly to £41.7bn
9. Grant-making by the voluntary sector increased in 2013/14 to £5.3bn
10. The voluntary sector's assets are disproportionately held by a small number of large organisations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2016/04/11/almanac-2016-the-latest-data-on-the-voluntary-sector/
 
Description ALMANAC 2017: FIVE THINGS I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT VOLUNTEERING 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact This year's Civil Society Almanac, gives us an updated and detailed picture of volunteering in the UK. Drawing on data from the government's Community Life Survey and other sources, the message overall is that volunteering is in a stable state with rates of volunteering largely unchanged from the previous year. There are a lot of facts and figures to digest, so here are my thoughts on the most interesting findings about volunteering in this year's Almanac:
• Pronounced differences between age groups
• Time spent volunteering hasn't changed
• Stalling growth in employer-supported volunteering
• Barriers to volunteering in deprived areas
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2017/05/11/almanac-2017-five-things-i-have-learned-about-volunteering/
 
Description ARE MORE CHARITIES CLOSING? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Are more charities closing? The Almanac has demonstrated the difficult times the sector has faced over the last few years - the recession in 2008, followed by government austerity since 2010. But has the difficult financial climate translated into actual closures of charities, or have organisations been able to keep going with reduced budgets and reduced services.
Around 400 organisations added each month, and 300 removed. The peaks in removals come from Charity Commission activity (a concerted effort to remove defunct organisations) rather than actual closures occurring at those times. There's certainly no trend in the figures that would indicate more organisations shutting their doors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2015/08/19/are-more-charities-closing/
 
Description Alamanac wesbite (page views 2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Provides the latest facts on voluntary sector organisations, workforce, charitable giving and volunteering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://data.ncvo.org.uk/
 
Description Almanac 2016: An introduction to the latest data on the voluntary sector 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Presentation slides from a webinar which took place on 26 May 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.slideshare.net/NCVO/almanac-2016-an-introduction-to-the-latest-data-on-the-voluntary-sec...
 
Description Almanac 2017: An introduction to the latest data on the voluntary sector 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Presentation slides from an NCVO webinar which took place on 5 July 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.slideshare.net/NCVO/almanac-2017-an-introduction-to-the-latest-data-on-the-voluntary-sec...
 
Description Almanac 2018: what does the data tell us? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact In 2015/16 the voluntary sector spent £46.5bn, which is £2.6bn more than the previous year. Of this £39.5bn was used on charitable activities, whether directly or through grants. This means that across the whole sector 85p of each £1 spent went directly to organisations' charitable causes. Between 2014/15 and 2015/16 spending on charitable activities increased by 8% (approximately £2.5bn). A small part of this increase is due to organisations now including governance costs as part of charitable activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2018/05/09/almanac-2018-what-does-the-data-tell-us/
 
Description Almanac related blog posts on NCVO website (page views), 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Almanac related blog posts on NCVO website (page views), 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2019/06/19/uk-civil-society-almanac-2019-the-latest-data-on-the-voluntary-...
 
Description Almanac related blog posts on NCVO website SMALL CHARITIES DATA (page views), 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Dissemination of small charities key findings from NCVO data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2019/01/21/small-charities-key-findings-from-our-data/
 
Description Almanac website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The website had the following views: 2017: 203,431 views 2016: 206,991 views
2015: 305,598 views
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018
URL https://www.ncvo.org.uk/
 
Description Are EU staff leaving the charity sector? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Unfortunately, the data doesn't allow us to see where these European staff are going - it could be that they are leaving the country but it could also be that they are moving into the private sector. Realistically, it's too soon to say what effect the referendum has had. The chart below shows us that while the number of Europeans in the sector dipped significantly in the last year, it's also only down to the level it was at two years ago, though recent data shows it is below the trendline. Nevertheless, we will need longer-term data and likely some qualitative research insight before we can draw definite any conclusions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2018/06/04/are-eu-staff-leaving-the-charity-sector/
 
Description CHILDREN'S CHARITIES: WHAT THE LATEST DATA TELLS US 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact At the same time as the latest Almanac, was launched we also produced some analysis of the children and young people's voluntary sector. This analysis, produced with the Children's Partnership, is based on the same dataset and methodology as the Almanac, but focusing on those charities who work mainly with children and young people.
This sector is large - we identify 37,000 organisations whose core work is with children and young people, with total spending of £5.6 billion. The largest source of income comes from individuals (44%), but income from government is a larger proportion for these organisations than for the voluntary sector as a whole (42%). These organisations are also much more likely to receive funding from local government. In the year we looked at, 2012/13, this income from government fell by £150 million from the year before, while income from individuals had risen by a small amount.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2015/08/09/childrens-charities-what-the-latest-data-tells-us/
 
Description Construction of animated video of NCVO Almanac of civil society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Our partners at NCVO constructed an animated video to highlight main findings from our work on third sector data which was viewed by 2797 people. it is always difficult to determine what effect such activity has but NCVO report that it results in greater awareness of the findings of this research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description DON'T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED: FIVE LESSONS I LEARNED WHEN EXPLORING DATA ON GRANT-MAKING IN THE UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact We know from the Almanac 2017 that grants to the voluntary sector represents a total of £6.3bn, which is 14% of the total income of the sector. Most grant money (93%) comes from other voluntary organisations (47%) or the government (46%).

Despite its importance to the sector, the proportion of the money given out in grants by government has been decreasing with more funding given through contracts. The transition from grants to contracts has been challenging for many charities, especially the smaller ones.

To better understand the challenges ahead, this blog analyses the grant-making data in our Almanac dataset. By looking at grants by sources, size of recipients and subsectors, I learned five lessons that I'm sharing here.

About a third of the money given out by voluntary sector grant makers goes to super-major organisations with an income greater than £100m. Only 20% of the sector's grant money goes to the 129,000 charities with an income lower than £1m.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2017/10/03/dont-take-it-for-granted-five-lessons-i-learned-when-exploring-...
 
Description EVIDENCE-BASED POLICY: USING THE UK CIVIL SOCIETY ALMANAC 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The mantra, 'evidence-based policy', is one that policy professionals live by. But robust data - either quantitative or qualitative - is expensive to produce regardless of whether you commission the work out, or do it yourself. This is why NCVO's UK Civil Society Almanac is such a useful resource for people working in voluntary and community sector policy who want to understand the shape of the sector and how it is evolving over time.
How I use the Almanac data:
• Responses to government decisions
• Strengthening campaigns
The Almanac shows that there has been a decline in grant funding over time. Whilst there seems to have been a slight increase in grants over time in the 2016 edition of the Almanac, the data also shows that, overall, smaller charities continue to see a fall in government funding. This is because charities struggle to bid for large contracts and are unable to manage the default payment by results model. The Almanac data therefore provides us with evidence of the problem that Grants for Good has identified and will also help us measure whether our campaign has been successful over time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2016/06/02/evidence-based-policy-using-the-uk-civil-society-almanac/
 
Description FIVE NUMBERS THAT DESCRIBE THE EUROPEAN UNION WORKFORCE IN THE UK VOLUNTARY SECTOR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Each year, the UK Civil Society Almanac presents information on the voluntary sector workforce using data from the Labour Force Survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Following the referendum in June 2016, we thought we'd take a look at the numbers and proportions of European Union nationals working in the UK voluntary sector today and compare to the workforce as a whole or to other sectors. For the purposes of this blog post, we have not included UK nationals in the EU figures below but have included people from Ireland, who make up about 11% of the EU voluntary workforce.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2017/08/29/five-numbers-that-describe-the-european-union-workforce-in-the-...
 
Description Google Scholar 60 journal articles over the period 2019-2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact 60 journal articles published online via Google Scholar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://scholar.google.com/
 
Description HOW YOU USE DATA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The results of our survey make for interesting reading. We found that 80% of respondents used data to assess and understand need (including for inclusion on funding applications), 77% used it to help planing and decision making and 65% used it to demonstrate their impact. These figures are probably higher than we might have expected - but it's worth noting that those responding to the survey are probably more likely to be engaged with data than charities as a whole.

In terms of the sources of data that people used, we found following:

62% of respondents used local authority data
61% used data from government departments
41% went to survey datasets directly
33% used data from infrastructure organisations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2016/02/19/how-you-use-data/
 
Description Launch Event (2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Launch event (2016)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Launch Event (2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Launch event (2017)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Launch event (2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Launching of the 2019 edition of the UK Civil Society Almanac (19 June 2019)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2019/06/19/uk-civil-society-almanac-2019-the-latest-data-on-the-voluntary-...
 
Description NCVO Almanac 2017 - Top facts: volunteering (You Tube) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact NCVO Almanac 2017 - Top facts: volunteering. You tube presentation. 762 views (as at 12 March 2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2vsVBr7ndc
 
Description NCVO Almanac 2017 Top facts: income (You Tube) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact NCVO Almanac 2017 Top facts: income. Presentation on You Tube. 169 views (as at 12 March 2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTeQDKvOllY
 
Description NCVO Almanac 2017 Top facts: workforce (You Tube) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact NCVO Almanac 2017 Top facts: workforce. Presentation on You Tube. Viewed 158 times (as at 12 March 2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5QXe2eRZLg
 
Description NCVO Almanac website (page views), 2019-2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact NCVO Almanac website (page views) 2019/20
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://data.ncvo.org.uk/
 
Description NCVO Member Assembly Session (September 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Member Assembly Session (September 2017)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description NCVO Webinar - How charity sector trends can inform your next board strategy (Slideshare), 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Webinar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.slideshare.net/NCVO/ncvo-webinar-how-charity-sector-trends-can-inform-your-next-board-st...
 
Description NCVO webinar board 116 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact NCVO webinar: how charity sector trends can inform your next board strategy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ncvo+webinar+board+-+116
 
Description NCVO webinar: Almanac 2016 - an introduction to the latest data on the voluntary sector (You Tube) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact This webinar was recorded on 26 May 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVdplBwzarw&t=6s
 
Description NCVO webinar: Almanac 2017 (You Tube) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact This webinar was recorded on 5 July 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok4PP6aJc-k&feature=youtu.be
 
Description NCVO's UK Civil Society Almanac 2016 (You Tube) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact What state is the UK's voluntary sector in? Short animation, which is based on the latest edition of NCVO's UK Civil Society Almanac published April 2016. Available on You Tube.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmlSZh-Uj1I&t=19s
 
Description NCVO's UK Civil Society Almanac 2017 (You Tube) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact NCVO's UK Civil Society Almanac 2017 presentation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4rJ3NWb0pY
 
Description Nine things to know about the UK voluntary sector 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Nine facts about charities and volunteering, taken from the UK Civil Society Almanac 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VWANM5tOLg
 
Description Six Almanac/Road Ahead presentations (2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Almanac/Road Ahead presentations at Charity Bank Road to Growth events (x6) - 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2019/01/14/the-road-ahead-2019-what-can-charities-expect-from-the-year-ahe...
 
Description Small charities: key findings from our data (2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact There are over 136,000 registered small and micro charities in the UK, making 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 are not captured in our data. Some research[1] estimates an additional 600,000 to 900,000 of such unincorporated groups and organisations. Our data also shows, that most of the small organisations (79%) work in their local area rather than on national or international level. A much higher proportion than of larger organisations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2019/01/21/small-charities-key-findings-from-our-data/
 
Description THE ALMANAC 2017 FINDINGS - WHAT DO THEY MEAN FOR YOU? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Earlier this week we launched the 16th edition of the UK Civil Society Almanac, which provides a comprehensive overview of the charity sector's structure and economy based on data reported by charities for the year to March 2015. In many ways, the new figures can be seen as the continuation of trends identified in previous years:

• Donations continue to provide the largest share of income from individuals
• Charities are taking an increasing role in delivering public services
• Levels of volunteering remain stable
• Increase in government income
• Uneven distribution of assets
• Growth of earned income
• Importance of donations
• What next? Recommendation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2017/05/12/the-almanac-2017-findings-what-do-they-mean-for-you/
 
Description THE SQUEEZED MIDDLE: SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED CHARITIES IN A CHANGING FINANCIAL LANDSCAPE 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Over 40,000 charities in England and Wales have an income between £25,000 and £1m, representing one-third of the voluntary sector. Today, NCVO published a report, commissioned by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, that explored the finances of these small and medium-sized charities to improve our understanding of the challenges and opportunities that they face. Income for smaller charities is unstable. Small and medium-sized charities were more likely to experience substantial income change (a rise or fall of more than one-fifth) than larger charities between 2008/09 and 2013/14. Looking at individual charity accounts we found that this is probably because smaller charities rely on fewer sources of income, while larger charities have more diverse income streams so that eg a single grant has less impact on their overall income. We also investigated one income band, £100,000 to £500,000, in more detail and found that these charities were more likely to lose than gain income over this time.

Take-home messages from the analysis:
• Income for smaller charities is unstable
• The income mix for small and medium-sized charities has shifted
• Smaller charities fared worse (proportionally) than larger charities
• How are small and medium-sized charities coping?
• So what?
• Despair or diversify - funding for the future
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2016/02/11/the-squeezed-middle-small-and-medium-sized-charities-in-a-chang...
 
Description Trustees Conference Session (November 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Trustees Conference Session (November 2017)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Trusts and Foundation Event (July 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Trusts and Foundation Event (July 2017)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description UK civil almanac 2018: launch event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact NCVO's UK Civil Society Almanac, now in its 17th year, is the most authoritative data source on the voluntary sector. It provides a comprehensive picture of the sector's structure and economy, helps improve understanding of key trends and drivers, and informs the work of decision-makers and policy-makers. The session will be chaired by Peter Kellner, chair of NCVO. Karl Wilding, director of public policy and volunteering, will present our findings with guest speakers Sally Young, chief executive, Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service and David Ainsworth, editor, Civil Society Media. It's an opportunity for you to gain invaluable insights, hear about current trends within the sector, and network and debate with colleagues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ncvo.org.uk/2-content/2192-almanac-launch-2018-booking
 
Description Views of NCVO Almanac website - this publication is based on data jointly constructed by NCVO and TSRC throuh this project. The website had 247 000 views in 2016 and in 2017 (so far) over 63000. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Our dataset, which we are building on in this project, underpins analyses of UK civil society in the NCVO Almanac of Civil Society. Without ESRC support the data would not be available for analysis. NCVO report that the Almanac website has received 366 000 views in 2015, 247000 in 2016, and 63000 in 2017, to date. They have also published various blogs based on the data, available at http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk, which have each had several hundred reads.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017
 
Description WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT CHARITIES AND THE EUROPEAN UNION? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact As the process of Brexit unfolds, NCVO research is exploring what the evidence tells us about relationships between the European Union, the voluntary sector and volunteering. There are lots of gaps in our understanding of these relationships, so we are attempting to fill some of these. I've taken a look at what our data and research tells us about the relationship between charities and the European Union. Using data from the Almanac, I've put together what we do and don't know across four areas: funding, where they operate, workforce and giving.
As European funding makes up only a small part of the voluntary sector's funding, and the Almanac figures are based on a sample of charities, these figures should be treated as estimates which give a general picture of the scale of funding.
• Charities received over £300m from the EU in 2013/14
• We estimate that 41% of income from the European Union arrives in the form of grants, with the rest as contracts.
• What's missing? Data on funding from the EU is patchy
• 4,300 charities operate in EU27 countries
• Number of England and Wales-registered charities operating in EU27 countries
• Workforce
• Charitable giving
At NCVO we'll be working to try and fill in some of these gaps over the coming weeks and months, as well as looking at other areas, including volunteering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2016/12/16/what-do-we-know-about-charities-and-the-european-union/
 
Description WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT CHARITIES' RESERVES? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Part of Kids Company's downfall seems to have been its hand-to-mouth operating model. It was unusual in having a commitment to meet all the need it found, and then try to work out how to meet the costs later. Most charities aren't in a position to do this. Kids Company hence spent virtually all the money that it received in almost every year of its existence. In other words, it wasn't saving for a rainy day. It didn't have the cash reserves that charities need in order to see them through rough patches, or to act as a cushion should they need to wind down. Charities are expected by the Charity Commission to set out their policy on their reserves in their annual reports. Good practice is to hold several months' operating costs in reserve. A lack of reserves, combined with what you might call a 'lumpy' funding profile - characterised by intermittent large donations or grants - is a very high tightrope to walk. Most charities would seek to avoid this. That said, it's not easy for a charity to build up reserves. Margins on public service contracts are frequently slim to non-existent, and donors often (unfortunately) object to donations being used on what they see as an 'overhead'. It takes conscious effort on the part of managers and trustees to ensure they are saving rather than spending all their income on what they see as pressing needs or opportunities in the present. The Almanac gives some basic statistics on the reserves that charities hold. Our estimate is that charities' reserves are collectively worth around £49 billion. This is equivalent to around 15 months of spending - so with no incoming resources the sector would be able to survive at current spending levels for just over a year by using its reserves. This is a sizeable sum, but the aggregate figures hide a lot of variation - reserves aren't distributed equally. A large amount of reserves are held by a small number of grantmakers. Removing the reserves of 15,000 foundations brings the total for the remaining "operating" charities to £20 billion, equivalent to 7 months of spending. Some parts of the sector have even fewer average reserves. Umbrella bodies and international organisations have an average four months' spending in reserve, advocacy and cultural organisations just five. Social services organisations - our largest category - also have five months' spending in reserve.
Half of these charities (around 3,800 out of 7,600 organisations) have less than three months spending in reserves, generally thought of as a guideline amount (although the reserves needed by any individual charity will vary, and will be based on a reserves policy they have developed according to their needs). One fifth of these largest organisations (1,500 charities) have less than one month of spending in reserve, while 450 of those large charities - over one in twenty - say they have no reserves at all. In addition, we estimate that a further 31,000 smaller charities (those with less than £500,000 income) also have no reserves - around 25%. But for smaller charities reserves are often less important - for those without staff to pay or significant creditors the financial impact of closure is more limited.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2015/08/07/what-do-we-know-about-charities-reserves/
 
Description WHAT DOES THE NEW UK CIVIL SOCIETY ALMANAC TELL US? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Almanac, brings together data from charities' accounts, administrative data and surveys to provide a comprehensive overview of the structure and economy of the UK voluntary sector, and is full of information on a range of topics including finance, workforce and volunteering. It's a publication but also a website [data.ncvo.org.uk] and a programme of work providing additional analysis and insights all year round. This year, a number of key findings stood out for us.
• Increases in income and spending seen in 2013/14 have continued in 2014/15
• Larger organisations have experienced the biggest increases in income
• Income from individuals is driving the increase in total income for the sector
• Income from central government is now higher than income from local government
• The sector employs an increasing number of people
• Levels of both regular and less regular volunteering remain stable
• The voluntary sector continues to make a sizeable contribution to the UK economy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2017/05/09/what-does-the-new-uk-civil-society-almanac-tell-us/
 
Description What we know about Britain's biggest charities 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Super-major charities are more likely to be involved in international activities than other charities. 18% of them operate in this area compared to 4% of all others. Also, some charities who are classified as working in other subsectors - such as the Children's Investment Fund Foundation which sits within the grant-making foundations subsector - also have an international focus.

Super-major charities are also more likely to be based in London and the south than other charities. However, this often reflects the location of their headquarters and does not capture the fact that many will operate throughout the UK, working with local communities and organisations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2018/12/04/what-we-know-about-britains-biggest-charities/
 
Description construction of database which underpins the efforts of NCVO to produce their annual statistical Almanac of civil society, a key reference source for decisionmakers and seekers of evidence both in the UK and abroad 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact the data underpins the NCVO Almanac and they produce a website through which its findings are disseminated. in 2015 they estimate that 305598 people used this website. the data are widely used in the third sector as an evidence base. they contribute to decisionmaking by funders, and by commissioners of public services
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://data.ncvo.org.uk/
 
Description further development of database which underpins the NCVO statistical almanac of civil society 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact access to the NCVO Almanac website - this website is very widely used in the voluntary sector as a source of evidence for decisionmaking. in 2016 NCVO estimated that 206991 people visited the website. they use the data in a range of ways - assessing the health of the sector, looking at which organisations are growing / declining, the changing funding base, and so on.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://data.ncvo.org.uk/
 
Description presentation at conference of charity trustees and investment managers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Presentation at Birmingham Charities conference organised by an investment management firm which manages considerable sums of money for charities mainly in the West Midlands. The theme of the conference was about the changing environment for charities and so the presentation, reflecting on themes and results from several years of TSRC's work, concentrated on elements of change and continuity in the funding environment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description presentation at conference of regional and local voluntary organisations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Presentation at conference of Sandwell Community Hubs, organised by a regional infrastructure body for the voluntary sector in the west Midlands. The theme of the presentation concerned the role of the third sector sector in the regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods and communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description presentation at conference of third sector organisations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Presentation of overview of key findings on change and continuity in the third sector at TSRC tenth anniversary conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description views of NCVO almanac website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact the data underpins the NCVO Almanac and they produce a website through which its findings are disseminated. in 2017 they estimate that 203431 people used this website. the data are widely used in the third sector as an evidence base. they contribute to decisionmaking by funders, and by commissioners of public services
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://data.ncvo.org.uk/