13 June 2016

Small local charities losing out to household names

Lack of awareness and resources hitting operations of Britain's smaller charities

Competition from large well-funded charities is severely hampering the fundraising efforts of local charities across the UK, a report from Britain's challenger bank, TSB, reveals today.

The report , published to celebrate the start of Small Charity Week found that over 50% of small charities believe better known larger charities - with significant marketing budgets and expertise - presented a challenge to their fundraising efforts. 1

Much of this is due to low awareness of their work in local communities. The result is that more than a third (38%) of Brits can't name one local charity and only one in 10 (13%) can name more than one. This is despite small charities representing 97% of Britain's charity sector and the majority operating in local communities.

Small Charity Week celebrates and raises awareness of the essential work of the small charity sector across the UK.  TSB is providing fundraising and support to nearly 500 local causes and is calling on others to work in partnership to safeguard the future of small, local charities and the vital work they do.

As well as lack of awareness, the report highlights severe skills shortages and funding as the major challenges hitting service delivery for small charities.

Almost two thirds (61%) of charities say that the skills gap in their organisation means an increasing workload for existing staff and volunteers. 2

This means that 43% of charities say they are increasingly unable to take on new work - precisely at a time when many charities are experiencing a growth in demand for their services.

Although the vast majority of charities are small, only 20% of the sector's total income goes to them, with the remaining 80% going to just the 3% of charities that turnover above £1m per year.

Despite the challenges, the report reveals that there are simple things that anyone can do to help this vital sector in their local community, from raising awareness to developing more local partnerships.

There is already an active base of supporters, with 10% of people already helping their local community by fundraising for local causes, and growing potential for more. 50% of people polled said they would donate money to their local charity if they knew about them.

Bola Gibson, Head of Community Engagement, TSB, said : "Unlike large organisations, which naturally have more resources at their disposal, small, local charities really struggle to get their voice heard. This lack of awareness is greatly hampering their funding and operations.

"Local charities are the lifeblood of the communities they serve, playing a vital role in supporting the daily lives of thousands of people.  

"At TSB our sole purpose is to help hard working local people and the communities to which they belong. That's why every single one of our branches is free to partner with a local cause that matters to them, their customers and their communities.   

"What our Local Charity Partnerships have proved is that partnerships between well-known businesses and local causes can have a positive effect, not just by increasing fundraising, but also increasing local awareness."

Graham Robinson, from the North Nottinghamshire Community First Responders , a group of 30 volunteers who assist the ambulance service, and a Charity Partner of TSB, said: 

"Large companies tend to donate to well-known household charity names so we find it hard to get them to support us. It comes down to awareness, with bigger companies wanting to associate with national charities who get wider visibility.

"As a result we tend to seek help from small businesses, like local shops, which make an important contribution but obviously have less financial clout.

"Another challenge we face is related to skills. There are many back end jobs involved in an operation like ours, particularly accounting and secretarial work, which we struggle to fill.

"They are vital to our operations and an inability to resource them adequately puts pressure on our front line operations."

John Barrett, Chief Executive of Small Charities Coalition, which worked with TSB on the report , said: "We applaud businesses like TSB for their work to help these brilliant small charities flourish. 

"At Small Charities Coalition we hear first hand from our members about challenges facing small charities, and recognise how important support is to enable them to develop and thrive.

"We hope that others are able to join us in highlighting and supporting the valuable work of small charities throughout the UK."  

Five ways to help  small charities

TSB has teamed up with Small Charities Coalition to identify five ways we can all help Britain's small charities:

  1. Find a local cause - Don't know what charities are local to you?  Want to find one you are passionate about?  Check out Guidestar and Small Charity Directory .
  2. Raise awareness - A key challenge for small, local charities is raising their profile, particularly when funding is tight.  If a local charity helps you, or someone you know, or if you or someone you know raises money for a local cause then spread the word. 
  3. Work in partnership - whether you're a small charity, a business or a member of public, working in partnership with local charities can be a powerful tool.  Whether it's encouraging a local business to support a local charity or small charities themselves working together to share knowledge and expertise.
  4. Volunteer - Not sure where to start? Small Charities Coalition offers resources to help individuals and companies give time and expertise - whether skills, fundraising, becoming a trustee, or organising employee volunteering.
  5. Give - Don't forget, a little can go a long way. Want to do more? Get in touch with your local charity or check out Local Giving for ideas.

Media Contacts

Roy Beale | [email protected] | 0207 0039 368 | 07867 349319
Gillian Slater | [email protected] | 0207 0039 367 | 07867 349218
Follow us on Twitter: @TSB_News


Notes to editors

1Research methodology:

Consumer research carried out by OpinionMatters in December 2015 with over 1,000 UK adults in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland). 

Small charity research carried out by ComRes between 25 th November and 17 th December 2015.  ComRes surveyed 301 small local charities by telephone. The sample was defined as registered independent charities with an annual turnover of up to £200,000, whose work focuses mainly in supporting the local area or region.  Data was weighted by broad region to be representative of charities in the UK. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be found at www.comres.co.uk .

2Source: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/images/documents/policy_and_research/funding/financial-sustainability-review-of-the-voluntary-sector-july-2015.pdf

About TSB

TSB was created to bring more competition to British banking - to be a real challenger to the big banks and to deliver the kind of banking the people of Britain want. TSB only serves local customers and local businesses, to help fuel local economies, because communities thriving across Britain is a good thing for all of us.

We have a simple, straightforward and transparent banking model and make clear on our website how we operate and make money. We offer the products and services people tell us they want, with none of the funny stuff people normally associate with traditional banks.

Our 4.7 million customers, award winning mobile and digital banking, nationwide network of branches and 8,600 Partners mean we are big enough to make a difference, but small enough to be an agile challenger to the entire market.

For further information about TSB Bank plc, please visit our website www.tsb.co.uk .