A new income spectrum, refreshing our thinking on sustainable funding

Olof Williamson was a Senior Consultant at NCVO, looking at the latest thinking on funding, finance and public services. Olof has left NCVO and his posts have been retained for here for reference.

This summer we have redesigned one of our most popular tools. The NCVO Income Spectrum has been around for many years, but now we have a new look and feel to help you better plan your organisation’s income.

A new look

We’ve refreshed the look, and used a range of shapes and colours to emphasise the different streams.


Download the full Income Spectrum (PDF).

The four income streams

Gifts, Grants, Contracts, Trading. We’ve kept them the same because they remain the four biggies for voluntary sector income. However, we’ve refined the descriptions and removed some jargon to make it all easily understandable.

How are income patterns changing?

According to our analysis of the Civil Society Almanac 2012, the mix across these income streams has changed quite a lot since 2000.

Where grants used to be the biggest source of income to the sector after donations, grants are now the smallest of the income streams. Instead, contracts have grown from the smallest stream in 2000 to the biggest, with contracts standing at £12.2bn in 2009/10. There is a chart showing this change in my article on the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network.

NCVO will update the figures for their new Civil Society Almanac, which is due to be launched in March next year.

What next for your income?

Now it’s over to you. Download the new income spectrum and work out where your organisation sits. Use the table on the back to map out your main sources of income, and identify if your income mix could be risky.

Then you can plan for increasing your income diversity – whether it is developing new income streams, raising your organisation’s profile with potential funders or supporters, or accessing further support.


We can support you

NCVO is committed to strengthening and championing the voluntary sector, and this includes on funding and finance. Get us in to your organisation for a tailored training or consultancy session, or come along to one of our open training sessions or seminars.

Find out more about our work at the NCVO Sustainable Funding Conference 2012 November 28th.

Download a copy of the new look Income Spectrum (PDF).

Thanks to MultiAdaptor for their work on the new design and advice on the usability of the tool.

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