Despite the prominence of voluntary organisations in public life and their high policy profile, there is a need for improved evidence regarding the funding base of individual voluntary organisations. This is relevant to theoretical debates about the role of such organisations in a mixed economy of welfare as well as to substantive questions about the balance between public and voluntary initiative. Using unique data for a sample of 7000 charities in England and Wales, for the first time we describe the distribution of charities according to the composition of their income. Importantly, the results illustrate the diversity of organisations with charitable status. They therefore serve to illustrate the different roles that charities play in a mixed economy. They also provide empirical context for substantive discussions relating to the identity of the charitable sector, including the notion of its “hybridity”—the extent to which an individual organisation draws upon a plurality of financial sources.
- charitable donations, charity - income sources; third sector; voluntary organisations