ALMOST half of all overseas-aid and human-rights charities in England and Wales are faith-based, a report by the consultancy group New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) said this week.
The report, Faith Matters, sets out a number of statistics on faith-based charities looking at their age, range, and income. It says that faith-based charities make up 49 per cent of all overseas-aid charities and 45 per cent of human-rights charities. The faith-based sector also accounts for 39 per cent of all anti-poverty charities.
Explaining the reason for the report, the NPC said: “In April 2016, we published research that showed, despite their making up a significant part of the [charity] sector, remarkably little is known about the effect of faith on how charitable organisations operate and what they can achieve. So we’re conducting ongoing research to try and find out more.”
The report identified 27,535 Christian-based charities among a total of 43,352 faith-based charities (63.51 per cent), and said that this group received donations of £11.2 billion — 68.61 per cent of the total £16.3 billion of all giving to faith-based charities.
The next largest group, in terms of donations, were charities identified as “generally faith-based”, described as those that were identifiable as faith-based but where researchers were unable to categorise them to a specific faith. The 10,310 charities in this group (20.02 per cent) received £3.27 billion, or 23.78 per cent of all giving to faith-based charities.
These were followed by 2147 Jewish charities (4.95 per cent) who received over £1 billion (6.19 per cent); and 2054 Muslim charities (4.74 per cent) who received £542 million (3.32 per cent). The report does not indicate how charity income was spent or invested.
The report says that the £16.3 billion income of faith-based charities accounted for 23 per cent of all charity income in England and Wales.
But the income is not spread equally. The report says that 80 per cent of the income of faith-based charities (£13 billion) is concentrated in just 1719 organisations. The remaining £3.3 billion is shared by over 41,000 charities. This leads to a small number of what the report calls “super major charities”. It says that 15 per cent of all Christian charities’ income is generated by just nine out of the 27,535 Christian charities (0.03 per cent).
“In other words, a small number of charities are receiving a large share of the income,” the report says.
The research does not present any conclusions or recommendations. It merely presents the data as “part of a programme of work that includes a survey for both faith-based and non faith-based charities, qualitative research and ongoing engagement with the sector to help us further our understanding of faith and charity. . .
“There is the potential to do much more with the data we now hold about faith-based and non faith-based charities – both generally and on specific issues.”