Research has shown that people in the UK do not know about local charities, despite 67% believing it is important to support their local community. OCF is working with OCVA to create a new open data tool that will connect the donors with the doers.
How many charities can you name that operate for the benefit of people locally? OCF can do better than the 27% of people who can’t name one – we have around 1,700 of them on our database – but we know more is needed if we want to understand where great work is happening, and help those groups get the funds they urgently need.
Although small local groups account for over 50% of the UK’s voluntary sector, they only receive 0.6% of charitable funding. The revealing figures, published by Localgiving.com, show a great disparity between the positive intentions of donors, and their lack of awareness of local needs. And as an economically and culturally thriving county, Oxfordshire is a prime example of an area where genuine social injustice is hidden in isolated pockets.
In fact, community and voluntary sector organisations in the county number over 2,000 in terms of registered charities alone, but we believe there are up to 4,000 unregistered groups doing grassroots community work. This leaves some donors and funders bamboozled by the array of local causes, with no way of checking their authenticity – which might explain the 40% of people who have never given to a local charity.
OCF is also taking an increasingly strategic approach to funding local organisations, in particular via a new open data project that will allow us to map the local charitable sector more accurately and provide meaningful intelligence to our donors. The tool, known as ‘Data for Good’, will connect information on funders, needs, and groups together, making it easier for charities and funders to find each other and for commissioners to join the dots between needs, services, and the groups that could bid to provide them.
The first step in this collaboration is a census being carried out by OCVA (Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action) to help us get a fuller picture of the charitable sector in the county. We are especially interested to hear from voluntary, community, social enterprise and other groups that are not registered with the Charity Commission.