State of the Sector

NPC’s State of the Sector programme seeks to inject new thinking to how charity leaders can adapt and thrive in a changing world.

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

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How charities have reacted to Covid-19

Covid-19 is changing the sector, but in divergent ways. Some have narrowed the range of services they offer, whilst others are broadening their activities to meet new needs or to reflect existing needs becoming deeper and more complex.

Charities told us that a big barrier to impact was the lack of recognition from government, funders, and society at large. We believe all charities should gather evidence of their vital role in the crisis and the effect that the changes they are making are having on beneficiaries.

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Where we stood as the crisis hit

Our research captures the charity sector in the final moments 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 vulnerabilities and help charities adapt to the new challenges they face, so they can keep serving the people who need them more than ever.

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Our earlier research

State of the Sector is a long-running research programme, allowing us to compare how charities, contexts and challenges are changing over time.

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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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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