NICVA’s State of the Sector examines the Income and Expenditure of the VCSE sector

NICVA’s latest State of the Sector research sheds light on funding to the VCSE sector in Northern Ireland through grants, contracts and public donations.

Estimating the economic size of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector is a complicated task which is determined by the availability and accessibility of data. A wide range of data sources was used in this resource include the 2015 State of the Sector survey, Government Funders Database, Freedom of Information requests and from funders directly. 

This research estimates that the sector received £587,673,569 from central and local government, non-departmental public bodies, grant making trusts, Europe, Big Lottery and public donations. Nearly half of the funding came from non-departmental public bodies (48.7%). Direct central government funding is also substantial with 25.5% of funding coming from this source. What is clear is that the funding awarded by councils to the sector has dropped dramatically. In 2007-2008 the councils awarded £9,638,975 compared to £5,622,960 in 2013-2014.

Funding Source 

 2013-2014 Funding (£ million) 

Non-departmental public bodies     286,459,533   48.7
Central Government                                     150,054,757   25.5
Grant Making Trusts     60,080,639   10.2
General public     52,789,608   9.0
Lottery     21,940,250   3.7
Europe     10,725,822   1.8
Local Government     5,622,960              1.0
Total     587,673,569   100


Analysis of organisation accounts suggests that the total expenditure of the sector in 2013-2014 was 93% of its income. If we equate that percentage to total funding, the total expenditure would be in the region of £548 million. This has decreased slightly from 97% in the 2012 State of the Sector Report.


Trends in how the sector expends it resources have changed relatively little with 86.8% of expenditure spent on charitable activities. Organisations also spend a large amount of resources on generating funds with nearly 10% expending their income to diversity their source of income.

On 28th September NICVA’s Research Team will be presenting findings from State of the Sector at a research launch event. Paul Givan MLA, Minister for the Department for Communities, will be commenting on the research and will be outlining his priorities for the voluntary, community and social enterprise Sector at the event. You can register to attend here

Click here to view the full State of the Sector resource

To view the open data behind State of the Sector visit  NICVA's Open Data Portal-

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