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Environmental, social, governance (ESG) Charity finance policy

Charity Property Matters Survey 2018

CFG members Ethical Property Foundation, in partnership with the Charity Commission and Charity Finance Group, have published the findings from their fourth Charity Property Matters Survey. Here Antonia Swinson, Chief Executive of Ethical Property Foundation shares a sense of the role property plays in the sector, and some key findings of the survey.

Property is an emotive subject as any of us who have been involved in campaigning for local buildings and local history can agree. Property explains our history and our community’s story and is so much more than bricks and mortar, guttering and gas bills: property is part of who we are.

Ethical Property Foundation works on the brick-dust filled front line, where property industry economics meet the need to secure community memory, community cohesion and hope.

One of the perks of my job is visiting voluntary organisations of all types, sizes and causes. These include local archives, community museums, animal refuges, community theatres and disused watermills as well as scout huts, charity run castles and sheltered housing. Very often our work is making sense of past philanthropy and imagination as properties age, local committees run out of puff and as land values rise, there is too often an unequal context between globalised capital looking to make a turn on land and property, cash strapped local council and the rest of us. Our consultancy clients are usually charities managing local assets – this could be a local museum, a community arts centre or gallery or a local heritage centre.

In November we produced in partnership with the Charity Commission and Charity Finance Group the Charity Property Matters Survey 2018, surveying 474 charities across England and Wales about their property issues. This is our fourth survey since 2012 and in keeping with our own caseload, reveals big concerns around funding and property knowledge.

Here are some of the key findings from the survey:

  • 32% of charities have experienced difficulty in finding funding for property costs while a further 26% anticipate this will be a challenge in the future.
  • More than one third of charities (36%) believe that property poses a high or very high risk to their organisation.
  • 66% of charities do not have a strategic property plan (up from 52% in 2016)
  • 41% say no-one is specifically responsible for property within their organisation
  • 27% have experienced unforeseen property costs. 44% do not report regularly on property to trustees
  • 39% do not carry out regular risk assessments on their property
  • 32% do not have complete records of the property they own or rent

Read the full survey findings here

What these charities have shared with us will help shape our work in 2019 – not least in equipping in our property education work. Our ambition is for a confident, resilient, property savvy sector capable of engaging with property professionals on an equal footing.

In 2019 a big part of our work will centre on the National Programme for Property Education, which will offer free workshops across England and Wales with one to one advice clinic with lawyers and surveyors and follow up support. Find out more about this and the work we do at





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