NCVO Almanac // A Year in Review


The NCVO Almanac is an annual review of how the voluntary sector is working; how big is the sector and what is our composition, how much do we have in assets, and where does our money come from. It examines data from the most recent Charity Annual Returns, majority of this year’s almanac relates to 2015/16.

Sector composition

The growth and dominance of a few large organisations continues. In 2015/16 there were 166,000 voluntary sector organisations.
Of these:

  • 3% are super-major (income over £100m) and large (income over £1m) organisations
  • 64% are small organisations (income under £25,000)

Sector income

In 2015/16, the sector had a total income of £47.8bn.
Of this:

  • almost half comes from the public. The total income from the public has increased by 7% to £22.3bn. The greatest increase has come through earned income.
  • approximately one third comes from government, and as expected, this has decreased slightly in comparison to recent years.

While the increase in earned income is hugely positive for the sector’s sustainability and independence, income is disproportionately concentrated on the largest organisations:

  • 3% of all voluntary sector organisations, earn 81% of the total sector income


The total number of people employed in the voluntary sector increased by 4% in 2015/16 to 880,556. Of these:

  • 63% are women
  • 64% work full time
  • more than half work in education, social care or health professions.


12 million people volunteered in the UK in 2016/17.

  • 22% volunteered at least once a month
  • 37% volunteered at least once a year
  • The most commonly-supported organisations are sports clubs or groups (57%), and the most common activities are organising or helping to run an event (44%) and raising money (40%).
    There is a much greater tendency towards ad hoc, flexible volunteering, and organisations may want to consider offering a range of ways to get involved including long- and short-term commitments.

You can read more here, via the NCVO website