More, better, together: Centre for London’s #LondonGiving report and what this means for small charities in the capital
Last week independent think tank Centre for London launched a new ‘strategic review of giving in London’, a comprehensive look at giving in all its forms in the capital. While the report identified London as a global philanthropy centre, with 11 of the UK’s 20 largest charities and 47% of all English charitable income, some of the most interesting insights came in looking at the city’s small charities.
Senior Project Manager Lindsay Harrod looks at what this means for the FSI’s Members and the small charity sector.
Could London actually be a ‘cold spot’ for local charities?
London is undoubtedly a hive of charity activity, hosting 2.8 charities per 1,000 population, compared to the national average of 2.4. However, research into charities’ “area of benefit” found that a significant proportion of these charities work at a national and international level, rather than locally in London communities.
This means that in fact there are just 1.4 charities working locally in London per 1,000 population, compared to 1.9 nationally. And in some boroughs, particularly as you move to outer London, the disparity is even more striking with Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Hounslow and Newham all having less than one local charity per 1,000 residents – far below the national average.
The FSI is committed to supporting those vital local charities working at a grassroots level in their communities, and we’re working ever closer with outer boroughs to support their voluntary sector.
Headlines on income: Londoners are giving less time and money than five years ago
- The report found that the proportion of Londoners who regularly donate to charity has declined by 8% over the last five years, with just 73% of residents now donating once a month – 2% lower than in the rest of England. Similarly, volunteering in the capital has fallen by 3% since 2013/14.
- Only 5.3% of Londoners who died in 2016 left a bequest to charity. We’re increasingly hearing that legacy income is a growing income stream for small charities, and with nearly 95% of people still not leaving a legacy there’s a huge amount of untapped potential here.
- Corporate giving in the capital amounts to £327million, and that’s not including corporate foundations, employee giving, and volunteering. However, corporate giving still tends to be concentrated around inner East and Central London, exacerbating the challenges for small charities in the outer boroughs.
There is a clear trend of national and local funders working increasingly collaboratively, and moving towards Grants Plus models offering capacity-building support alongside cash grants. The FSI is pleased to be working with funders like Lloyds’ Foundation, Rank Foundation, The Fore Trust and People’s Health Foundation to deliver strategic support and training for their small charity grantees, something we hope continues to grow (see recommendations below).
What does this mean for London’s small charities?
It’s not surprising to us given the results of our quarterly Small Charity Index that the report found that sustainable fundraising in small charities is harder than ever. The research acknowledges that small charities have been disproportionately impacted by cuts to public funding and services. This directly corresponds with our Index findings, in which London charities reported a 7% increase in demand for services between March and May 2018 alone, and incomes that are largely static or falling.
It’s an increasingly difficult time to be a small charity in London and beyond, and it’s the FSI’s mission to support the sector to become more sustainable and continue delivering their vital services.
So, what needs to be done?
The report sets out 14 key recommendations for London’s giving leaders – those organisations well-positioned to take a lead, including the Mayor of London, City of London Corporation, London Funders, Trust for London, London Councils, London’s community foundations, and London Plus.
The FSI backs many of the researchers’ calls to action, especially those recommendations that specifically address the challenges facing small charities, especially that “London Funders should support fundraising capacity-building programmes among small and medium-sized charities.”
For small charities: We continue to deliver affordable, high-quality fundraising training in London and around the UK, as well as online. Join the FSI now and explore our November training courses now, just £7.50 – £15.
For London’s giving leaders: We welcome conversations with London Funders and giving leaders about how we can strengthen the ability of London’s voluntary sector to meet the city’s challenges. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7324 777 to chat.
Huge thanks to Centre for London and Sir Henry McGrath who funded the project for providing such a necessary and insightful report, that will undoubtedly make a significant impact on the sector.
Lindsay Harrod is Senior Project Manager for the Special Projects & Fund Development team at the FSI.