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Small Is Often Mighty: Why Supporting Small Charities Can Make The Biggest Impact

Every year, in June, the charity sector celebrates Small Charity Week - seven days dedicated to raising awareness of the essential work of the UK’s small charity sector.

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Small charities make an invaluable contribution to the lives of millions of individuals, communities and causes across the UK and the rest of the world. These incredible organisations often work locally and are positioned to build relationships in the community with those that are hardest to reach. Others work on the ground in some of the poorest countries in the world, embedded in communities that rely on their expertise and help to survive. Just because a charity is small, doesn’t mean it isn’t making a MIGHTY difference.

Did you know that 97% of UK registered charities are small (defined by an income of under £1million); and 47% of these are micro with an income of under £10,000 per annum.

This may be a surprising fact particularly when they only receive 20% of the UK’s charitable giving.

What small charities achieve on a shoestring budget is often amazing and it certainly doesn’t make them any less important, loved or admired by supporters.

However what it does is makes it a little bit harder for them to raise awareness, income, and support for their cause as it’s likely they have less resources including human power and income to make the magic happen.

Small charities play a huge role in our society, providing jobs, essential services, and support and adding a high value to individuals, the economy, and communities.

The Value of Small report, a ground-breaking report funded by The Lloyds Bank Foundation found that smaller, local charities combine three distinctive features in how they support people and communities, which sets them apart from both public-sector providers and larger charities:

1. Who smaller charities serve and what they do:

Through plugging gaps left by other organisations; being the ‘first responders' to people in crisis, and creating safe, familiar spaces where people can receive practical support or be quickly linked to other local services because of the charity’s local networks.

Examples in the research included the experiences of homeless people and refugees who were not being helped by public services but got the support they needed from small and local charities.

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2. How smaller charities work:

Building person-centered relationships with clients for longer; being known for their ‘open-door approach and understanding of local issues, and for being quick to make decisions because of flatter management structures and reflecting more closely the diversity of their local communities through their staff and volunteers.

Examples in the research included charities providing mental health services that were more welcoming and engaging for people who were turned away from public services because the issues they were facing were too complex or didn’t fit those organisations’ missions.

3. The role smaller charities play in their communities:

Using their well-established and far-reaching networks to act as the 'glue' that holds communities together.

Examples in the research include charities helping communities cope better with funding cuts and service fragmentation.

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Your business can make a big difference to a small charity.

Small businesses can play a tangible role in helping to raise awareness and funds for small charities.

We know that £1bn of charitable income would be created if just 1 in 20 small businesses donated 1% of their income per year, which offers a really exciting opportunity for small businesses to have a monumental impact on the future for small charities.

If as a small business you want to make a difference then choosing to donate to a small charity may be the way to make the biggest impact.

Get involved with Small Charity Week!

Use your platform to shout about a small charity you love and join in with Small Charity Week 2021.

Here are two days we think your small business can get involved with:

Monday 14th June - I (heart) Small Charities Day - an opportunity for you to raise the profile of the charity your business is supporting, use your social media accounts and e-newsletter to let your customers and people know who you’re supporting, and market the products or services they can purchase to help support that charity.

Sunday 19th June - Appreciation Day - say a big thank you to small charities, their staff, volunteers, trustees and supporters for all their effort throughout the year.

You can find a small charity you’d like to support from over 900 charities via our Charity page.