Both the income and the spending of the voluntary sector increased in 2015/16, with the sector spending 97% of its income
- Total income has increased by £1.6bn (4%) to £47.8bn. This growth rate exceeds the average rate of 2% over the last 10 years.
- Voluntary sector spending stood at £46.5bn in 2015/16, an increase of £2.6.bn from 2014/15 (6% increase). This is a larger increase than seen between 2012/13 and 2013/14 (4% increase).
- As with income, voluntary sector spending is now at its greatest, surpassing 2014/15 which exceeded the previous ‘peak spending’ level of £43bn in 2009/10. After 2009/10, spending decreased to a low of £41bn in 2011/12 and has since increased to its present level.
- The difference between income and spending (£1.3bn in 2015/16) does not necessarily imply that the sector has surplus income: capital expenditure on equipment or buildings is spread over the life of the asset, whilst total income includes items such as legacies that are spent over multiple years.
- Nevertheless, in 2015/16 the sector spent 97% of its income.
The increase in total income was largely due to the increase in income from individuals
- In 2015/16, income from individuals increased by 7% amounting to £22.3bn.
- Income from individuals accounted for 88% (£1.4bn) of the total increase of the sector’s income (£1.6bn) compared to 68% in 2014/15.
- Total income increased by 4% but this is hiding some variation between income sources.
- For example, income from individuals increased by 4% in 2014/15 and even more so, by 7%, in 2015/16. However, income from government decreased only marginally (-1%).
52% of the sector’s income comes from major and super-major organisations
- The increase in total sector income occurred only for those organisations with an income of £100,000 or above (18% of the total number of organisations).
- The income of major and super-major organisations increased from £22.8bn (51% of total income) in 2013/14 to £23.5bn (51% of total income) in 2014/15 and £24.8bn in 2015/16 (52% of total income).
- Much of the increase was concentrated in super-major organisations with an income of over £100m. The number of super-major organisations increased from 40 in 2013/14 to 42 in 2014/15, and to 45 in 2015/16, indicating that some ‘major’ organisations received sufficient growth in income to push them over the £100m threshold.
- The total income of organisations in the other income bands (micro and small, medium and large) stayed the same or decreased very slightly between 2013/14 and 2015/16.
Over half of the sector’s income is shared amongst organisations in just four subsectors
- In 2015/16, 56% of the voluntary sector’s income was generated within four subsectors: social services (22%), culture and recreation (12%), health (11%) and international (11%).
- These breakdowns are comparable to spending.
By type of spending
Spending on charitable activities has increased by 8% since last year
- In 2015/16, voluntary organisations spent £33.1bn on charitable activities, £6.5bn on grant-making, £6.4bn on generating funds and £0.6bn on governance.
- Spending on charitable activities, has remained largely stable in recent years but increased in 2015/16 by 8%.
- Governance costs have dropped by 34%, which is partly due to more charities now reporting these costs as part of charitable activities. This may also be playing a part in the 8% increase in spending on charitable activities, though only a small one due to the numbers involved (governance costs were £0.9bn in 2014/15 such that the changes in reporting cannot explain an increase of £2.5bn on charitable activities).
80% of voluntary sector spending is done by organisations with income over £1m
- In 2015/16, organisations with an income over £1m account for 80% of the sector’s spending.
- This split roughly holds true for the different types of spending except for governance where 61% of all expenditure on governance is for organisations with an income of less than £1m. This may be due, however, to larger organisations adopting new financial reporting rules more quickly.
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