NCVO launches new ‘Cost Of Giving Crisis’ campaign to help support charities delivering vital services this winter

October 30, 2023
Published by Dudley CVS

Results of new research published today by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) – the largest membership body for charities and volunteering organisations in the UK – reveals the alarming extent of the crisis currently facing charities and the voluntary sector.

  • With costs climbing, income falling and demand increasing, this is no longer just a cost of living crisis. For charities, who give so much, this is a Cost of Giving Crisis
  • 1 in 5 charities (19%) say if current conditions don’t improve, they could be forced to pause operations this winter, meaning the lifeline charities provide to the communities and people they serve will ‘disappear’ this winter
  • 85% of charities predict this winter will be as tough – or even tougher (54%) – than last winter
  • Over a quarter of charities (27%) are already saying they will be unable to meet the level of demand this winter
  • NCVO has launched a ‘Cost of Giving Crisis’ portal of help and support for charities this winter.

NCVO’s latest research, which surveyed over 580 charities and voluntary organisations across the country, shows that many charities are already under strain from the Cost of Giving Crisis.

An overwhelming 85% of charities believe this winter will be as tough, or even tougher, than last winter, and as a result over a quarter (27%) say they don’t think they will be able to meet the demands placed on them this winter.

Without the urgent support they need, 1 in 5 (19%) say they could be forced to pause operations completely until the economic outlook improves, leaving the people and communities they serve at risk.

What is the Cost of Giving Crisis?

Charities give so much to society but are facing a ‘triple threat’ of lower incomes (61%), higher costs (77%), and increased demand (67%). This isn’t just a cost of living crisis, for charities it’s a Cost of Giving Crisis.

Costs have increased across the board since last winter. Many of these costs aren’t ‘optional’, which is why only 1 in 3 (35%) of charities say they can manage the crisis through cost cutting. Charities say the following costs have increased since last year:

  • goods and services (73%)
  • energy and utility bills (68%)
  • wage bills (63%)
  • insurance costs (51%)
  • property maintenance (41%)
  • rents and mortgages (27%)

As a result, almost a quarter (24%) of charities say they are planning to reduce the volume or variety of services they offer this winter to cope.

Sarah Vibert, CEO of NCVO, said: “Charities across the country are working towards another challenging winter. The voluntary sector has provided support through some of our most difficult times, but this winter there is a real and imminent possibility that many charities will no longer be able to cope with spiralling costs, falling funding and record demand. For charities, who give so much, this is a Cost of Giving Crisis. Urgent help is needed to make sure charities can continue to support the communities and people they serve, when they need them most this winter.”

Help and support is needed

NCVO is highlighting the need for urgent support needed to help charities manage the Cost of Giving Crisis through:

  1. Practical help and support for the sector: NCVO can help charities of all sizes this winter. Access this and more through its new Cost of Giving Crisis support portal:
  2. We need government action to properly fund charity contracts: Government must ensure that contracts and grants for charities delivering services are uplifted to meet the costs of delivery – or people might not be able to access the vital services they need this winter, and beyond. Over £16.8 billion of contracts and grants in the UK charity sector come from government and the public sector. However, these contracts are not ‘uplifted’ each year to reflect the rising costs of delivering these vital services.
  3. Asking the public to donate spare time, not just spare change: While the generosity of the public through donations and fundraising is vital, almost half (45%) of charities say they are planning to meet the challenges of the Cost of Giving Crisis by recruiting more volunteers. NCVO has resources available for anyone interested in volunteering this winter:
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