The world’s largest charities have been forced to fight for recognition in a new report as the number of charities seeking recognition in the UK rises.
As the number is set to climb to more than 3,200, it will be hard to keep pace with the growth of the global charity sector, according to a report published on Tuesday.
The annual Transparency and Empowerment Report for the British Association for Charity (BAFC), which is based in the United States, said the UK was becoming a more diverse and inclusive country, with more non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and organisations recognised in the US and the UK than ever before.
However, the charity sector is still struggling to maintain its position as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, said Simon Cox, head of the British Foundation for Charity, which has worked in the charity industry for 40 years.
He added: “In terms of the growth in global charities in 2018, we were the fastest growing sector, but we are still behind the big four: the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand.”
We have been growing steadily for many years and the fact that we are at this point in time where we are losing ground to the big three is worrying.
“It shows that while we are very active, we are a bit behind.”
This year, charities reported nearly 1.3 million donations, the most ever.
The total was up from the previous year, when 1,300,000 were reported.
But there is more to the picture than just the number.
The report also found that while charities have risen to become the fastest-growing sector in the world, the UK is still a long way behind the other major nations, with China and India accounting for almost a third of the total.
“There is still quite a bit of work to be done, particularly in the areas of diversity and inclusion, in terms of making sure that the UK charities are recognisable as a vibrant and inclusive sector in both the UK and across the world,” said Cox.
“The growth of this sector is great and has the potential to transform the world but we need to ensure that we’re getting on top of that.”
The UK, which will host the 2018 World Charity Games on the opening day of the Olympic Games, has also been struggling to make a dent in the number and prominence of its global organisations.
The report found that more than 1,100 UK charities have fallen behind their peers in the development of global charity in recent years.
In terms on their impact on the global economy, only 20% of the UK’s 1.1 million charities have achieved their goals, while the rest have fallen short of their targets.
According to the report, the number in need of funding has risen by 24% in the past five years and more than half of those needing help are women.
Cox said the lack of funding was also affecting the development and growth of charities.
“In the last five years, there has been a lot of growth and a lot more work is needed to see what the UK can achieve, and it’s been a very long time since we have seen an increase in the funding of a charity,” he said.
“I’m not sure that we will ever see a situation where there is ever a significant rise in the amount of money being raised in the charities sector.”
He said there were also concerns about the ability of charities to meet the needs of the communities in which they operate, with the report highlighting the fact they have struggled to reach out to communities that are more vulnerable.
The charity sector has had to adapt to the changing face of the planet and as such, many charities have struggled with the challenges of new technologies, Cox added.
But the report also highlighted the positive aspects of the sector and how it was able to thrive in the post-financial crisis environment.
The BAFC’s chief executive, Nick Beattie, said: “We’re delighted to report that the sector is now growing and improving in terms on how it works with communities and the wider economy, in contrast to the downturn of the past few years.”
He added that the report highlighted the importance of charities in the future, as the sector was becoming more diverse, inclusive and innovative.
“This is a time for charities to take on new roles and roles in the wider world, and this report highlights the importance charities play in the lives of their members and their wider community,” he added.