Research into the benevolent sector, commissioned by Elizabeth Finn Care and carried out by nfpSynergy, has revealed the extremely challenging financial time that the benevolent sector is experiencing in the UK's current economic situation
Last week, around 80 delegates attended a major conference to launch the findings of the study. Held in London, this was hosted by Elizabeth Finn Care, the Association of Charitable Organisations, nfpSynergy and the Directory of Social Change, and chaired by Dame Diana Brittan, Chairman of Independent Age.
Spending cuts and changes in Government policies has led to many benevolent sector charities losing statutory income. There has also been a decrease in asset portfolios and subscriptions as a result of the difficult financial situation that the UK is currently experiencing. At the same time, the demand for the services charitable funds provide is growing considerably because factors such as the current economic climate and demographics – e.g. benefits cuts, redundancies, longer life expectancy – are causing more people to need support.
However, financial stress of this kind can also provide pressure for reform, which can lead to positive and exciting developments within the sector.
Participants identified possible solutions to meeting the needs of an increased client group in the context of reduced charity income. These included sharing resources and making joint applications for funding. They also discussed ways to improve the marketing of the benevolent sector to raise public awareness of the work that it does and issues surrounding the requirement, emphasised in the Charities Act 2006, for all charities’ aims to be, demonstrably, for the public benefit.