Policy paper

The value of the charity sector

A paper explaining the steps that are needed to measure the value of the charitable sector.


The value of the charity sector

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email usability@charitycommission.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


Understanding the value of charity

Most people agree that charities do great work for the people and causes they serve. But few people in positions of authority in our society understand that the true value of charity is about more than the combined work of individual charities.

That’s why the Commission, together with the Frontier Economics have prepared a paper on the value of charity. It is published with a joint foreword from the leaders of both organisations – Baroness Stowell of Beeston MBE and Lord Gus O’Donnell GCB.

In it, we argue that charity’s value lies not just in its economic footprint, or even in what it achieves for its beneficiaries, but also in its power to promote cohesion, well-being, and pride in our society.

We also argue that, in order to maximise the potential benefit of charity in the future, we need to understand and protect what makes charity special and distinctive in the eyes of the public.

Baroness Tina Stowell, Chair of the Charity Commission, says:

The charitable instinct, deriving from concern and care for other people and a desire to further the public good, is a distinctive force in British society. It is important to the economy too.

As we seek to navigate our way through turbulent times, charity has the potential to deliver even more benefit but the stakes are high: if we fail to recognise, respect and realise the true value of charity, we risk undermining a much-needed and powerful force for unity and cohesion in our society and what makes it special.

Published 2 October 2019