May 21, 2012; Source: Third Sector

When a potential donor is looking to support a worthwhile cause, that donor is often advised to seek out established charities that have been working toward whatever the desired mission may be for a lengthy period of time. However, a new report from the UK Charity Commission finds that new charities are more likely to deliver services and engage in advocacy. These findings cover the period from October 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012.

According to the report, 59 percent of new charities provide services, compared to only 34 percent overall. In addition, 36 percent of new charities engage in some form of advocacy, compared to only 21 percent overall. New charities were also found to be more slightly more likely to sponsor or undertake research. Older, more established nonprofit organizations were found to be slightly more likely to provide facilities, grants to organizations and human resources.

The Charity Commission report interprets these findings as a result of the economic downturn, which may have caused a boom in the creation of new nonprofits motivated to begin helping people quickly. Specifically, the report notes that the last six months has brought the registration of 213 charities that “deal with issues that affect ‘employment,’ ‘unemployment’ and/or specifically help the ‘unemployed;’” 87 new charities dealing with those who are “socially excluded,” such as the homeless; 12 charities that provide food bank services; and 83 new “street pastors” charities, an attempt on the part of a number of religious organizations to reach out—typically between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.—in order to prevent problems in many urban areas such as “alcohol fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour.”

Do the findings surprise you, or are they consistent with what you have experienced during these shaky economic times? –Mike Keefe-Feldman