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Small charities struggling for income

PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:07 22 October 2010

LORNA MARSH

Many small charities in the region are suffering financially at the hands of national big name “brands”, a report warned yesterday. Organisations such as Oxfam, Cancer Research UK and the National Trust are taking an increasingly larger share of public donations, leaving smaller, local charities struggling for income, the annual trends survey by the Charities Aid Foundation found.

Many small charities in the region are suffering financially at the hands of national big name “brands”, a report warned yesterday.

Organisations such as Oxfam, Cancer Research UK and the National Trust are taking an increasingly larger share of public donations, leaving smaller, local charities struggling for income, the annual trends survey by the Charities Aid Foundation found.

Charity Trends 2006 revealed that Britain's top 500 fundraisers enjoyed an overall income growth of 4.8pc to £5.3bn in the year 2004-5 with the ten top charities rising by nearly 9pc.

But charities in the bottom 100 of the thousand organisations studied saw their incomes fall by 12pc over the same period.

Meanwhile, the latest Charity Commission figures revealed that two thirds of registered charities have an income of £10,000 or less but have less than 1pc of the total overall income recorded and less than 8pc of charities receive 90pc of the total annual income recorded.

Cathy Pharoah, Charities Aid Foundation's director of research, said that the increasing dominance of the big names meant that the smaller charities were having to work harder to maintain their share of voluntary income.

“While there is a perception that the public hold local and specialist charities in high esteem, this isn't translated into financial support,” she said.

“Small to medium-sized charities are going to have to get smarter and look at collaboration over marketing and fundraising with others if they are to compete with the big brand-name charities,” she added.

The survey also found that the remarkable level of disaster fundraising in 2004-5 led to a 49pc rise in the amount given to international causes, worsening the decline in income to smaller charities.

After the December 2004 tsunami, the Disasters and Emergencies Committee announced an appeal and £20m was donated within two days with £60m collected by the end of the week.

On average, every adult in Britain gave £5, and it is estimated that four out of five families donated to the appeal.

Ms Pharoah said: “The unprecedented sums raised for the tsunami disaster showed the power of a global appeal, supported by the media and new technology. Other charities are going to find it increasingly challenging to compete for funds against such appeals.”

Dick Thurlow, trustee of the Caister Volunteer Lifeboat charity, said: “We are having to work much harder for the same amount of money. If we had been doing as much 10 years ago as we are now we would have collected twice as much.”

Last year the charity raised more than £300,000 compared to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's £108m.

Melanie Chew, of East Anglian Children's Hospices (Each), said the charity had struggled for the first quarter of last year following the tsunami and it was only thanks to extensive publicity by the EDP that got it back on track.

She said: “The problem is keeping that momentum going. People will start to forget about us and focus on the big charities advertised on billboards.”

Yet Sharon Hulbert, fundraising manager for the Big C cancer appeal, said it had recorded its biggest ever income - topping £1m last year - thanks to a drive for a new centre.

And Kim Greensmith, of Nelson's Journey, which helps bereaved children, said it had also enjoyed its best year.

The report lists Britain's top ten fundraising charities as follows:

1. Cancer Research UK - £344m.

2. Oxfam - £177m.

3. National Trust - £156m.

4. British Heart Foundation - £130m.

5. Royal National Lifeboat Institution - £108m.

6. NSPCC - £93m.

7. Salvation Army - £92m.

8. Macmillan Cancer Relief - £90m.

9. RSPCA - £80m.

10. Save the Children - £79m.


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