Value of small charities

New research by the Lloyds Bank Foundation identifies the impact that small and local charities have on their communities, especially in tackling social issues like homelessness, domestic abuse or mental ill health. It calls for an overhaul in the way in which public bodies commission services to make it easier for small charities to deliver services.

The research highlights the significant challenges facing smaller charities despite their clear benefits for people and communities. There is a critical mismatch between what smaller charities do and the people they help – which public bodies should find attractive - and how public bodies actually fund, commission and contract services and measure value, which instead favours larger providers. As a result 84% of local government funding is actually going to larger charities.

The Value of Small was commissioned by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and conducted by an independent research team comprising the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University; the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) and the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership at the Open University. The researchers immersed themselves in four local areas - Ealing, Bassetlaw, Salford and Wrexham – to carry-out in-depth studies of small and medium-sized charities (those with an income of £10k to £1m) tackling issues such as homelessness, unemployment and helping refugees to integrate. Over 18 months they analysed a range of evidence and spoke to more than 150 stakeholders to understand the distinctive contribution and value of smaller charities operating at a local level and the challenges they face.