Major whole-sector survey set to capture impact of cost-of-living crisis on charities
Charity sector bodies are joining together to launch one of the biggest surveys of the social sector in years.
Pro Bono Economics (PBE) and the National VCSE Data and Insights Observatory, run by Nottingham Business School (NBS), part of Nottingham Trent University, are partnering to conduct the survey exploring the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on charities and community groups.
A working group of 14 organisations, led by PBE and the Observatory, is currently developing the survey. The group includes sector bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), as well as the British Red Cross and Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales.
The group is set to launch the first in the series of quarterly surveys following Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s energy announcement. It is hoped the research will help to inform policymakers about the state of the social sector during the cost-of-living crisis.
Charities, alongside businesses and public sector organisations, have been guaranteed six months of support with energy costs as part of the government’s Energy Price Guarantee, which is scheduled to come into effect on October 1. There will then be a review in three months’ time to identify ‘vulnerable industries’ which will be eligible for further support after the six-month period ends.
PBE has previously raised concern about the lack of reliable data on the social sector available to policymakers. As part of its work for the Law Family Commission on Civil Society, PBE called on the government to close the “significant gap” in its understanding of the economy by establishing a dedicated social sector statistical account.
Earlier this year, the National VCSE Data and Insights Observatory was established by NBS to tackle data gaps affecting the social sector. It aims to bring the whole sector together to better understand its strengths and weaknesses and articulate its needs.
In addition to PBE and the Observatory, the working group developing the new survey consists of the CIOF, NCVO, the Charity Finance Group (CFG), the British Red Cross, the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA), Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), the Directory of Social Change (DSC), New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership (VCSEP).
Matt Whittaker, CEO of Pro Bono Economics, said: “Charities have a vital role to play in helping the country navigate the cost-of-living crisis, but - as is so often the case with the social sector - we know too little about its capacity to meet the demand it is facing. We also have very little data on how the crisis will affect these crucial organisations themselves.
“It is encouraging to see the sector coming together to work with the Observatory to plug this evidence gap.
“This collaboration is a great example of the power of the Observatory in generating high quality sector-wide research and insight, which can support more effective decision-making in government and in the sector itself.”
Professor Daniel King, director of the National VCSE Data and Insights Observatory at Nottingham Business School, said: “The cost-of-living crisis creates pressing challenges for many charities, as rising costs meet falling income and escalating demand. Developing this survey to capture real time data about the impact of the crisis on the sector and how the sector is responding is really important.
“We are delighted that the Observatory is teaming up with Pro Bono Economics to work with the sector to co-design this survey, and to analyse it in an independent way. This survey provides an opportunity to get the best insights into the sector at a time of significant change.”
Notes for editors
About Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham Business School (NBS) at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is a leader in experiential learning and personalisation of business, management and economics education and research, combining academic excellence with positive impact on people, business and society. NBS has an unrivalled level of engagement with business, public and voluntary organisations. With more than 8,000 students, NBS is also one of UK’s largest business schools.
NBS is Quadruple+ Accredited by EQUIS, AACSB, EFMD BA for International Business, which are globally recognised hallmarks of excellence and quality for business education. NBS is also accredited by Small Business Charter, providing support and development for SMEs. The school is also a PRME Champion and held up as an exemplar and beacon by the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME).
About Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.
The Research Excellence Framework (2021) classed 83% of NTU’s research activity as either world-leading or internationally excellent. 86% of NTU’s research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent.
NTU was ranked second best university in the UK in the Uni Compare Top 100 rankings (2021/2022).
It was awarded Modern University of the Year 2023 (The Times and Sunday Times), Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards), University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).
NTU is the 5th largest UK institution by student numbers, with nearly 39,000 students and more than 4,400 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 7,000 and an NTU community representing over 160 countries.
Since 2000, NTU has invested £570 million in tools, technology, buildings and facilities.
NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2021 UCAS UG acceptance data) It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was the first UK university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge.
75% of NTU students go on to graduate-level employment or graduate-entry education / training within fifteen months of graduating (Guardian University Guide 2021).
NTU is ranked 4th most sustainable university in the world and 1st in the UK for sustainability-themed Education and Research in the 2021 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).
- Category: Press office; Research; Nottingham Business School