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Charities face a world where their context and challenges are always changing. At NPC we help them rise to those challenges but to do so, we have to understand their perception of that the issues are, and how this changes over time.

NPC’s State of the Sector programme is the most rigorous analysis of sector leader opinion, and how it changes over time. 

State of the sector logo

In the final month of 2019 and early 2020 NPC undertook a survey of 300 charities, intended to follow up its 2017 ‘State of the Sector’ work which explored the charity sectors perceptions of itself and the issues it faced.

Our research captures our sector in the final few months of calm before the storm, offering insight into its strengths, weaknesses, challenges and risks. It paints a picture of a broad and complex sector, wrestling with its relationship with government, funding challenges, technological change and its own diversity and representativeness.

We hope that by understanding the trajectory the sector has been on since 2017, funders, philanthropists and policymakers will be more able to understand what happens in the crisis and help charities adapt to the new challenges they face, so they can keep serving the people who need them more than ever.

State of the Sector 2020

Where we stood as the crisis hit

State of the Sector 2020

Supported by:

About our 2017 research outputs

Our initial exploration, Boldness in times of change: Rethinking the charity sector for the future, outlines key challenges and opportunities for sector leaders. It makes the case for a bold and imaginative response to current challenges, and highlights ‘bright spots’ of practice throughout.

Next, we did some quantitative and qualitative research involving around 400 sector leaders over all. We published the findings from this research in Charities taking charge: Transforming to face a changing world. You can also view a short summary video of the research.

Flipping the narrative: Essays on transformation from the sector’s boldest voices is the third product of this research. It showcases approaches and ideas from leaders across the sector who are taking bold, innovative action to transform the way they deliver impact. It is a springboard, a rally cry to the sector, and a source of ideas and motivation to transform and move forward.

Tell us what you think on Twitter using the hashtag #StateoftheSector.

We are grateful to our programme sponsors: PwCBarrow Cadbury Trust, EcclesiasticalOdgers Berndtson and Cripplegate Foundation.

PwC, Barrow Cadbury, Ecclesiastical, Odgers Berndston, Cripplegate Foundation

Key outputs from the State of the Sector programme

Selected media coverage

The Guardian Voluntary

Have charities weathered the worst of the storms? The forecast is mixed.

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Third Sector

Trustees Week: Should we pay trustees?

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Charity Digital News

New survey reveals charities’ top 10 risks.

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Third Sector

Charities 'using other income' to subsidise public service contracts.

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Third Sector

We need a government innovation fund, says Barnardo's chief

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Third Sector

Most departmental funding from £750m rescue package is available, minister claims

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Civil Society

Government and NLCF ‘resolving final issues’ around small charity funding

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Civil Society

‘Covid-19 crisis is a crossroads for charities’ says Barnardo’s CEO

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Third Sector

Charities were stretched too thin before the pandemic, says NPC report

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Civil Society

‘Charities spreading themselves ever thinner,’ warns research

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Civil Society

Charities more at risk because they subsidise public sector contracts

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UK Fundraising

NPC research highlights charity & public sector vulnerability to Covid-19 crisis

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Local Gov

Charities struggle to deliver public sector contracts as they lose £4bn

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Charity Digital

Coronavirus: Lack of digital confidence threatens charities’ support for affected communities

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Charity Times

Coronavirus: Charities at greater risk due to public sector contracts, research shows

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Children and Young People Now

Coronavirus: Children's charities threatened by major income drop

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