Latest data on voluntary sector infrastructure

In July last year, as part of the Big Assist programme, we asked voluntary sector infrastructure organisations to mark themselves on a map in order to build a picture of the infrastructure sector. We started with a group of organisations that we had identified through keyword searching and matching with other lists of organisations, but then asked organisations themselves to fill in the gaps.

Infrastructure MapThanks to a great response, we can now use the resulting list of infrastructure organisations to paint a picture of the economic conditions of voluntary sector infrastructure, using data from the Charity Commission. We’ve put together some charts and tables which explore the sector’s finances and other characteristics. You might recognise the tool we’re using – it’s based on the same tool we developed with South London CVS Partnership for displaying data about charities in a local area.

The findings give some sense of the scale of infrastructure activity that Big Assist are seeking to support. We’ve identified 828 organisations operating around England and Wales. This doesn’t give the whole picture though – it only covers those organisations that are registered charities, and we know that increasingly infrastructure organisations are using other forms such as Community Interest Companies.

The 829 organisations that we’ve identified have an income of nearly £690 million in 2011/12, a drop of around £110 million in cash terms from 2010/11. Nearly two thirds (57%) of this income is income earned from charitable activities, with voluntary income accounting for 30% of it. Around 80% of the sector’s spending goes directly on charitable activity, with the remainder going on governance costs, fundraising and a small amount of grant-making. These charities employ at least 9,500 staff, and have assets of £630 million.

If you’re an infrastructure organisation and you’re missing from this data you can add yourself to our map. We’ll be updating this data over the coming weeks and months as new data comes in.

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David Kane David Kane was formerly NCVO’s Senior Research Officer. He discusses open data and emerging trends in the voluntary and community sector and wider civil society.

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