Fast facts

Get the latest facts on voluntary sector organisations, workforce, charitable giving and volunteering.

Size and scope

Overview There were 166,001 voluntary organisations in the UK in 2015/16 Our analysis of the sector is based on our “general charities” definition (see methodology) that allows comparison of figures from year to year. Under our definition there were 166,001 voluntary organisations in 2015/16, comparable to last year (165,801) and slightly less than in 2013/14 […]

Finance Overview

Highlights The sector’s total income increased by £1.6bn (4%) to £47.8bn in 2015/16. The increase in total income was largely due to the increase in income from individuals. 52% of the sector’s income comes from major and super-major organisations. The sector’s spending stood at £46.5bn accounting for 97% of total income. Spending on charitable activities […]

Economic value

Highlights The voluntary sector contributed £15.3bn in 2015/16, representing around 0.8% of total GDP. The contribution of the voluntary sector has increased since 2014/15 and is now similar to the GDP of Estonia. The sector employs approximately 880,000 people in June 2017, also an increase from 2016. The value of formal volunteering was estimated at […]


Highlights Voluntary organisations are not distributed evenly throughout the UK, with over 80% in England. England has 2.4 organisations per 1000 people, fewer than in Scotland and Northern Ireland which have 3.6 and 3.3 per 1,000 people respectively. Half of all English charities are based in the three regions of the south. English charities generate […]


Highlights Organisations that have children and young people as their beneficiaries are the most common. Service provision was the most common function of voluntary organisations by number of organisations. 94% of people say they, or their friends or family, have interacted with charities. The percentage of organisations with an income over £100m working overseas has […]