Small charities failing to measure the impact of their services

Press release | November 2017

Small charities failing to measure the impact of their services

New research from the Foundation for Social Improvement’s (FSI) Small Charity Index reveals small charities are failing to record the impact of their services, with only 52% of respondents stating they consistently measure the impact for nearly all of their services.

24% of respondents only measured the impact of half of their services, 19% only a small proportion whilst 5% don’t measure impact of their services at all. This is despite being aware of the benefits of doing so, including being able to know the difference their services are making to beneficiaries (25%), meeting funders’ requirements (24%) and being able to improve their services (23%).

At a time when small charities are experiencing a rising demand for services with an astounding 112% increase since June 2013 and stagnating income, it is essential that charities effectively measure and demonstrate their impact to support their fund development and their sustainability.

Pauline Broomhead, CEO of the FSI said,

“The Small Charity Index Trends data has shown income to small charities has only seen a 1% growth in four years, so now is a time for small charities to take control of the things we can influence.

By measuring and demonstrating our impact, small charities will be able to prove to funders and donors the difference they are making, helping to increase the share of funding available that they currently receive.

At the FSI we are striving to bridge the gap between the resources charities need to secure their sustainability and deliver their services. So we are rolling out heavily subsidised and free training and webinars on Impact measurement, plus many other topics for small charities working across the UK.”

As part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s (DCMS) Small Charity Training Programme, training events are taking place across the country.  The programme is open to small charities and community groups with an annual income of up to £1 million, which have a local focus within England. For more information on the subsidised support, see

The full Small Charity Index report is available to download via the FSI’s website:



For additional information or interview requests please contact – Olivia Lam 020 7324 4777

The FSI, Charity Number 1123384, supports the UK’s vibrant small charity sector with free and heavily subsidised training, advocacy and support programmes aimed at building sustainability and knowledge-sharing.

Charity members of the FSI have an annual turnover of under £1.5 million and membership is free.

The latest Small Charity Index report published today is a quarterly survey of the UK’s small charity leaders and trustees which analyses trends in income, service delivery, workforce and governance.

The data gathering and analysis of trends is carried out by the FSI through its membership of over 5,600 distinct small charities with a turnover under £1.5 million.

Total organisations surveyed June 2013 – August 2017 – 1,173

Total organisations surveyed June – August 2017 – 348

Further report findings:

The report also looked at the impact of Brexit on small charities with a focus on migration policies. It finds that only 2% of small charities have made contingency plans for post-Brexit, despite 71% believing a reduction in EU migration would have an impact on the charity sector.

Four years of Small Charity Index trends data key statistics:

Between June 2013 and May 2017:

  • Total increase for demand for services was 103%
  • Voluntary income increased by 1%
  • Statutory income decreased by 11%
  • Earned income increased by 11%
  • Use of reserves increased by 63%