How much funding goes to small organisations vs larger ones and who are the primary funders?


I am interested to know how much funding is going to different sized organisations and who is providing it as an overall % share of funding to the VCS. For example, how much is going to small (<£10k) organisations compared to medium (>£250k) and larger (>£750k) ones; who is providing that funding (government, local authorities, charitable trusts?) and what % of their overall funding envelope does that represent?


@rachel.rank I have exactly the same question! I’m aware of the NCVO small charities snapshot but not much else. Since the NCVO slice comes from the Charity Commission it also doesn’t include CICs or other organisational forms that embed a social purpose or benefit but don’t register with the Commission, which would be really helpful to fold in.

It would also be incredible if we could try to agree standard definitions for size categories like “micro,” “small,” “medium,” etc. (i.e., does “small” = <£10k, <£100k, <£250k …)


I agree with @RachelStuart and her last point: Definitions of the “size” of an organisation vary wildly from funder to funder. As an organisation seeking funding, we can fall into a huge range of categories. Our “size” can be measured on number of employees, last year’s turnover, projected turnover for this year, number of local authorities/sub regions/regions served, and a host of more abstract concepts.

For an organisation like Stick ‘n’ Step, where we are in a period of strategic, planned, proactive growth, the “size” concept can be a minefield. Our turnover will grow from £350,000 in FYE 2016 to a likely £750,000 in FYE 2020. That makes building long term relationships with funders very difficult indeed if they have a defined interest in a particular size of organisation. It also means that those organisations that fund us now are unlikely to want to support us next year or the year after.

I think size is an important measure for mapping where funding is going to, but I do wonder if funding bodies could rely less on “size” as a criteria on the basis that it hampers growth.


Thanks for raising this @wirralmatt. It would be interesting to look at funding going to different sized organisations and measure size in the different ways you mention: employees, turnover, area served, etc.

If we could get that different data it would be interesting to see if there are any commonalities between the size groups and also if it helps us think differently about why this information is needed - is knowing annual turnover more important than staff size, or is it useful to know both? If so then why? I’d love to look at this more closely if we could get the data from grant recipients - I suspect we could.


As a further development of this topic, I wonder if there is any mileage in attempting to understand the reasons behind funders’ decisions to opt to support smaller/larger organisations; and also, what evidence there is to support those reasons that the funders’ decisions are based on.