Last week, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) published its UK Civil Society Almanac for 2014, full of interesting data on the voluntary sector and civil society. First published in 1996, the Almanac is a great example to all of us involved in data-driven projects about how to present information in a useful, exciting and accessible way. But it also has some especially interesting data around government funding of the sector and, in particular, the move from government giving grants to contracting services. In three key charts, the NCVO shows: 1. Government funding for the voluntary sector dropped by £1.3bn from 2010/11 to 2011/12. Though it remains, by some distance, the second biggest source of income after individual giving. 2. The voluntary sector receives four times more money from government through contracts to deliver services than from grants, although both sources declined in 2011/12. (Grants are voluntary income, essentially given as a gift – contracts are earned income, with an organisation providing a service.) 3. The cuts varied across different categories of voluntary organisation. Those sectors in areas protected by the government from its own spending cuts – education (schools), health (NHS) and international aid – did not lose […]

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