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The relationship between state funding and volunteer levels in voluntary sector organisations: a quantitative analysis of regulatory data

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There is a long-standing debate within voluntary sector studies concerning the relationship between state funding and volunteer levels within voluntary sector organisations (VSOs). Due to a lack of suitable data, this debate has previously suffered from a lack of aggregate, quantitative evidence at the sector level. This article helps to fill this gap by exploring the relationship among larger charities in England and Wales (those with an annual income over £500,000), using a relatively new regulatory dataset on charity funding sources. The findings reveal a complicated relationship, with some small to moderate associations between the key variables. Among VSOs with at least some state funding, state income is correlated with smaller proportions of volunteers, even after controlling for size and industry. However, those with no state funding at all appear less likely to use volunteers, and to use them in lower average numbers, than those with at least some state income.
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Keywords: contracts; service delivery; state income; volunteers

Affiliations: Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Appeared or available online: December 16, 2019

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