Is the tide about to turn for charities as the economy picks up?

20th January 2014

A major survey of senior fundraising and finance professionals in the charity sector has kicked off today, the seventh in a series designed to track the recession’s impact on the charity sector.

The Managing in a Downturn series, produced by PwC, Charity Finance Group (CFG) and the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), has been charting how charities are coping during the economic decline since 2008. Over 400 charities responded to the 2013 survey, providing a real insight into how they are responding to funding cuts and increasing demand for services.

In 2013’s Managing in a New Normal: adapting to uncertainty survey, nine out of 10 charities reported that they were experiencing a squeeze on fundraising.

More than two-thirds (67%) said that demands on their services had increased. Nearly half (42%) of all charities said they might have to dip into their cash reserves.

However they did find signs of improvement too, with many charities reporting that staff morale is good.

This year’s survey will probe whether the long-awaited upturn in the economy is filtering through to the charity sector.

Caron Bradshaw, CFG Chief Executive, said:

“In recent months we’ve seen more positive signs of economic recovery, with 2014 now being referred to as a potential turning point. However, even if we see the growth anticipated, ongoing cuts in public spending and negative headlines over the past year mean that times are remain tough for many charities.

“These surveys are incredibly important in telling us what’s really happening on the ground. It will be interesting to see if things are looking up for charities or if they really are experiencing the much-reported lag in impact.”

PwC Director Ian Oakley-Smith said:

"Many charities are adjusting well to the "New Normal", taking positive steps to understand the changes that continue to be needed.

“However, we know that others remain slow to react and the results of this survey will provide further evidence as to the scale of the challenge that continues to face the sector."

IoF Chief Executive Peter Lewis added:

“The results of last year’s survey showed that charities were maintaining resilience to the downturn of the last six years. 2013 was a year of highs for many fundraisers despite increased media and political scrutiny of the sector as a whole.
“This survey will provide an incredibly useful snapshot of how charities have been affected by this and in particular how they plan, in the face of austerity, to continue their fundraising growth and innovation through 2014. And building on the data from the previous six years it will provide us with important insight into the ongoing health of the sector.”

The survey can be found here and closes on Friday 14 February 2014.


Notes to Editors:

1. Managing in a Downturn

The Managing in a Downturn series has surveyed senior fundraising and finance professionals in the charity sector since 2008 to chart the impact of the recession. This survey will be the seventh in the series.

The survey can be found here and closes on Friday 14 February 2014.

2. Charity Finance Group

Charity Finance Group’s vision is to inspire the development of a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy charity sector. CFG works with finance managers to enable them to give the essential leadership on finance strategy and management that their charities need; promoting best practice in charity finance, driving up standards, campaigning for a better operating environment and ensuring every pound given to charity works harder. CFG has more than 2,200 members, and collectively our members are responsible for the management of over £19bn in charitable funds.  

3. Institute of Fundraising

The Institute of Fundraising’s ( mission is to support fundraisers, through leadership, representation, standards setting and education, to deliver excellent fundraising. Members are supported through training, networking, the dissemination of best practice and representation on issues that affect the fundraising environment. The Institute of Fundraising is the largest individual representative body in the voluntary sector with 5300 Individual members and 340 organisational members.

4. PwC

PwC helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 184,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at

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