How Charities Fight to Survive: The Battle is Very Real

Posted By: Helen Friday 24th May 2019 Tags: , , , , ,
baby feet
Every parent will understand the significance of this picture

Throughout the month of May, at LaneSystems we are focusing upon corporate responsibility, what this means to us and how you can get involved. Our previous blog offered a small insight into a fundraiser we’re currently involved with. Take a look at Helping Zoe’s Place. Today, we are looking into the fundamentals of a charity and how they really have to fight to survive. This struggle is very real affecting not just charity owners and their teams but most importantly, service users.

To start with we are going to discuss some findings that were highlighted in the Guardian online back in 2017. Now bearing in mind that the financial climate has since worsened, these stats are not truly representative of today.

Hold on to your hats!

Large Charities: Statistics showed almost 1 in 5 were struggling to survive.

Smaller Charities: More than a quarter were fighting the battle.
During this period, 18% of UK charities as a whole feared for the future of their organisations. This number rose to 28% of those with an annual income totalling less than £1m. It would be interesting to learn, two years down the line, how this 18% are currently performing. We would guess they have either ceased to exist or continue day-to-day fighting the charity battle.

So they’re the stats, what exactly is involved in running a charity?

We researched the subject extensively, concluding, the amount of information and legislation a charity must adhere to is quite simply overwhelming. The government website provides all of the details necessary in setting up and running a charity.

Setting Up

The following must be considered when setting up a charity:

  • The structure of the charity
  • Writing the charity’s governing document
  • Writing charitable purposes
  • Choosing the name
  • Obtaining relevant funding to begin
  • Registering the charity

And that’s merely to begin. From here, the charity needs to run and run successfully.


  • A Board of Trustees
  • Protection Policies for Children & Adults at Risk
  • Charity Rules
  • At least 13 additional documents
  • Team Members
  • Funds

Once all of these factors are firmly in place, the charity then has to stay afloat.

So how are existing charities coping and what are they doing to remain at the forefront of funding?

It’s fair to say that the majority of charities have had to reassess their operations. The following data is also taken from 2017:

  • 61%, equating roughly to 3 out of 5 charities stated they had either re-structured or were planning on doing so over a 12 month period.
  • 33%, that’s around 1 in 3 were involved in team reductions.
  • 28%, that’s almost a whopping quarter of charities stated already had or were making plans to reduce FRONT LINE services.
  • 10% of charities or 1 in 10 were looking into mergers to be actioned over the following 12 months.
  • The majority of charities were placing financial and time based investment into social media and digital marketing.  

The final point above can clearly be seen across the board with many charities in the UK. Service providers are certainly upping their game in terms of digital marketing and shouting about what they do.

Zoe’s Place

As we have discussed previously, Zoe’s Place is currently facing cuts to funding and the impact this will have is astronomical. Providing respite for babies and children up to 5 years old suffering from life threatening and life limiting conditions, the knock on effect to families involved is colossal. The battle is very real for charity workers and service users at Zoe’s Place and the threat of losing two days per week is an addition of stress that noone should have to endure during already difficult times.

If we refer to the above statistics from 2017, we can see that Zoe’s Place have now been affected by point 3, similarly to other UK charities at this time. The threat is certainly very real.

What’s our advice?

Supporting charities is important. Yes, national charities need our help but we can also look closer to home. In Teesside we have some amazing services available, all of which are there to help look after one another. We will all know someone that’s had to use a local service at some time or another. As business leaders we should be working together in supporting local charities. Not only does it benefit their cause, it helps get our teams motivated and even promotes a little friendly competition.

Think about it – how could you help?