Follow the trail
Some statistics on the sector. More up-to-date figures should be available from the various organisations mentioned.
- Charity Statistics - source of general and specific data.
- Selected stats (not current).
- Other figures.
- Sector Research & Policy page.
- Sector Support bodies have their own page.
- See News pages for updates.
Scoping the sector is a developing field. There is no single definitive source, or a definitive definition of what the voluntary sector covers (see Glossary for some suggestions).
For instance, 'registered charities' will not cover all the small community organisations which aren't registered in any way, or not-for-profits which don't fall within the charitable definition (e.g. because their primary aim includes campaigning).
When this content was first written sector statistics were hard to find on the web. Things have improved, so rather than reproducing what is available elsewhere, here are some key sources. (Earlier stats are left on this page, below, for reference).
- The UK Civil Society Almanac is probably the most useful source, from NCVO.
- For Scotland see SCVO Sector Stats pages.
- Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is producing regular reports.
- Charity Commission Facts and Figures page - England and Wales.
- Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action produces a State of the Sector report (not every year).
Specific aspects, regions
- The Citizenship survey, which includes volunteering, was run by the government's Office of Third Sector. However as this has been restructured at May 2010 and web pages abolished, we are awaiting news.
- See Institute of Volunteering for stats for England.
- Sector bodies in English regions, and counties, have undertaken a variety of studies. See Local contacts for where to go to find out latest position.
Charity Commission - England and Wales
From Charity Commission Annual Report (covers England and Wales) to March 2002, published July 02:
- There are 185,948 charities on the Register (of which 161,200 are main charities; the remainder are subsidiaries or branches of other charities).
- The total annual income of all registered main charities exceeds £26billion.
- Approximately 6% of charities receive nearly 90% of the total annual income recorded.
- The largest 393 charities attract over 43% of the total annual income.
- The estimated value of the total assets of registered charities is over £70billion.
- There are an estimated 1.1 million charity trustees.
- They registered 5,199 new charities in the year.
Following table for 2002 extracted from Commission's site (main charities takes into account subsidiaries and branches):
|Annual income bracket (£)||Number of main charities||% of registered main charities||Total annual income (£bn) of charities in each bracket||% income of registered main charities|
|£10m and over||
Quoted in HM Treasury Review of Charity Taxation Consultation Document: In September 1998, around 187,000 charities in England and Wales were registered with the Charity Commission. There are approx. another 27,000 charities in Scotland, and 7,500 in Northern Ireland.
Trustees/board members, quoted in VolSec Workforce Development Plan, 2001: 750,000 people holding 1.1million positions between them.
NCVO Research Almanac 2002 (Jan 2002) UK
- The voluntary sector's contribution to GDP accounts for £5.4 billion
- 2% of the UK Workforce are employed in the voluntary sector (563,000 paid workers in 2000)
- Gross income for general charities in UK in 2001 was £15.6 billion (a real increase since 1999 of 4.2%)
- Single largest income category is income on investments (21.3% or £3.3 billion). Donations from the general public account for 19.7% (£3.1 billion). Grants and donations from other voluntary organisations account for 7.6% (£1.2 billion.) Government contracts and grants provide 28.34% (£4.4147 billion.)
- Total current expenditure of general charities was £14.9 billion, equivalent to 96% of total income.
- Staff costs account for £5.2 billion (35.2%) of expenditure; £4.8 billion (32.3%) is spent on goods and services; £3.5 billion (23.8%) is spent on grants and donations.
- There are 140,964 general charities in the UK Income of the voluntary sector now totals over £14 billion.
WCVA Almanac 1999
- £570 million income
- 25,000 organisations
- 1.86 million volunteers:
- 1.09 million formal
- 1.68 million informal (dont know why these figures dont add up!)
- £3.4 billion value of volunteering activity
- 13,000 staff
- over 6,300 full-time
- over 6,500 part-time
SCVO Breakdown from UK Almanac 2002
- Income £2.01 billion, the financial year 2000/2001, expenditure £1.94 billion, assets of £6.8 billion. Comparable to Scotlands agricultural output.
- Over 50% of income goes to 1% of very large organisations. 72% have incomes of under £25,000, and total just 5% of the sectors income.
- Latest estimates: sector employs around 4% of the Scottish workforce: 100,000 paid workers or 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs. 44% work in the 1% largest organisations.
- Largest income types remains grants and donations at 57% of total income, with self generated income such as trading, rents, investments and service contracts representing 43%.
- Donations from the general public amounted £387 million or just under 20% of total sector income. Public Sector sources represent 35% of income.
NICVA From State of the Sector III (For 2009, see State of the Sector V)
- There are between 4,500 and 5,000 voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland.
- 15.4% of these organisations are controlled from outside Northern Ireland, showing that Northern Ireland has a largely self-sustaining voluntary and community sector.
- The gross income for the voluntary and community sector in the financial year 2000/01 was £657.1 million, total current expenditure £640.8 million. Total assets were worth £750.28 million in 2000/01, with liabilities of £207.02 million.
- The general public donated an estimated £146.9 million to the voluntary and community sector in 2000/01. The average donation was £12.17 per month per person.
- 55% of the sector's overall income is accounted for by 7% of organisations.
- The voluntary and community sector paid workforce numbered 29,168 in 2001, accounting for 4.5% of the Northern Ireland workforce, of this 72.4% were female.
- Total of 72,908 formal volunteers actively engaged in the sector.
Volunteering England quotes following statistics: 22 million adults volunteer each year to complete 90 million hours of work a week (source not stated).
Institute of Fiscal Studies Modelling voluntary labour supply (Oct 98):
- Even using the most conservative estimates, the total value of time volunteered annually is over £3 billion. An estimate that takes into account replacement costs values voluntary activity at almost £8 billion per year.