How big a threat is property to your charity?

January 24, 2018 at 17:31

According to the last Ethical Property Foundation Charity Property Matters Survey 2016, 45% of respondents said that property was the biggest threat to their organisation.

Property management has been at the heart of the charity sector for centuries. Charities have been using buildings to deliver their services since their beginning, some of them have even been set up to preserve buildings of historic or community value. Property is, therefore, central to the work of the vast majority of our sector.

The survey is back again – and every charity should take part. But what can we learn from the last survey?

What are the threats to charities on property?

barking1For many the basics of having the funding to pay for facilities or keep their buildings in good condition is the biggest struggle. 58% of respondents to the 2016 survey said that they found it difficult to obtain funding for property costs. Some of this is due to cuts in local government support, such as peppercorn rents or full business rate relief, which kept property costs low. It may also be part of a trend towards more restricted funding where it is harder for charities to get full cost recovery and maintain their facilities. Funding difficulties as a concern was up 17% from the 2014 survey.

Has this increased since 2016 or has the situation improved? Taking the survey will help us to find out.

For other charities is it a lack of space which is the problem. Although some of this may be down to affordability, it is also due to the lack of appropriate space. A lot of property has been pushed from commercial into the residential space where profits can be higher, and this means that in some regions there is less space than there used to be. 33% of respondents in 2016 said that a lack of space will mean that they won’t be able to meet demand for services. Charities need to plan ahead to make sure that they either get access to the property that they need or keep hold of the property that they have got!

It will be interesting to know whether this trend has continued and whether more needs to be done by local government to keep these spaces open for charities and community groups. The survey will give us a much clearer window into this issue.

Are charities getting the support that they need?

Previous surveys have indicated that charities are not planning ahead effectively when it comes to property management.

43% of respondents said that they had suffered an unforeseen property cost and 52% had no kind of property strategy.

With tenures becoming more uncertain and many charities owned or operating aging buildings, charities need to have the skills to be able to manage property effectively.

The Ethical Property Foundation uses this survey to help design their future courses and events. We want to know whether charities need to invest more in this area and if there are any policy solutions that could be put in place.

Taking the survey will help us to understand much better the needs of charities.

Don’t just spectate, participate!

Obviously, the report will be available online once it is completed but the more charities that take part the better it will be and the more useful it will be to the sector.

If you have just ten minutes spare in your busy day, take the survey and help us get a richer picture of how the sector is grappling with property management.

The survey is online and can be taken on laptop, phone or tablet. If you have any questions please email