UK NGOs facing challenging months ahead as funding cuts begin to take hold and affect aid programmes

A recent survey by Bond has found that Covid-19, Brexit, the UK recession and cuts to official development assistance (ODA) risk pushing 48% of NGOs towards ceasing operations that deliver aid such as healthcare, water and sanitation and food to marginalised communities.

Medium and small NGOs are most at risk, with 29% of small NGOs and 64% of medium NGOs reporting that they may need to close by 2023. Larger organisations are also at risk with only 74% able to confirm their ability to operate beyond the next two years.

65% expect their income to fall in 2021-22, with over a quarter of all organisations surveyed (26%) anticipating falls in income of over 20% in 2021-22. Small and medium organisations look set to be hit particularly hard with 72% of small organisations and 56% of medium organisations expecting income to fall.

Just over half of organisations have experienced cuts as a result of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office cutting the Official Development Assistance budget this year due to the drop in Gross National Income (GNI).

Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond the UK network for organisations working in development said:

“The whole world is facing difficult times ahead, and this survey gives us a stark and clear picture of what’s to come for both NGOs and the communities they help. Millions of people have been pushed even closer to the edge by this pandemic. They depend on NGOs, in the UK and internationally, for the basics – clean water, healthcare, sanitation and food.”

“Small NGOs are particularly vulnerable. We would ask that the government set up a £10m relief fund to help small NGOs so that they can continue to support their local partners and the communities they work with. If we don’t, we risk losing both specialist organisations, but also charities that are the heart of local communities across the UK.”

Job losses across the sector look set to continue, with 46% of NGOs stating that they had either made or were likely to make staff redundant. Jobs that appear to be particularly vulnerable are those involved in programme delivery, already cut by 53% of organisations, admin and finance, cut by 51% of organisations, and public fundraising, cut by 41% of organisations. UK based roles, junior roles and fixed-term contracts look set to be most affected.

Despite 49% of organisations making use of the government’s furlough scheme, only 11% said they would be making use of the replacement scheme once the furlough scheme finishes at the end of October.


Notes to editor

  1. The survey was conducted at the beginning of October and was completed by 93 organisations: 35 small organisations (below £2m), 39 medium organisations (between £2m and £20m), 19 large organisations (over £20m)

2. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
3. For further information please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]