2017 has been a busy year of rapid change and development within the Third Sector.  Through its trials and tribulations, the sector remains as vibrant and exciting as ever, and has carried out so much incredible work for good causes all around the world this year.  Here’s our ‘year in review’, featuring some of the biggest news and trends within the Charity Sector in 2017.

Contactless Payments

The rise of contactless payments in 2017 has initiated a transformation of the face of giving, by making it both easy and simple for people to donate to charities with a touch of their card.  This provides a much more slick and streamlined alternative to giving donations in the traditional way, which often entails rustling through handbags or rummaging through pockets to find change.  What’s more, we are living in an increasingly cashless society where fewer and fewer people carry money, opting instead for payment methods such as contactless cards or Apple and Android Pay.  In order to keep up with the changing times, many UK charities are adopting this new technology, or are in the process of trialling it.  Some charities have swapped in traditional collection boxes for contactless payment ones, to provide ease of giving to donors, not to mention the fact that it renders the excuse of having no change a thing of the past.  Donors can give up to £30 in one contactless transaction.  What’s more, people were also found to donate more when they use contactless.


There have been uncertain times for the Third Sector in the face of the Brexit fallout and there is little wonder why, as it was one of the only sectors that was not consulted as part of the Brexit negotiations.  Many of those working within the sector have reported seeing a tangible difference since its initiation.  Charities could lose out on hundreds of millions of pounds as a result of the Brexit ruling, as it could forgo EU driven funding.  Subsequently, people have been calling on the government to cover the shortfall.

Introduction of the Fundraising Preference Service

Rolled out in 2017, the Fundraising Preference Service was created to make it easier for people to opt out of receiving fundraising communications from charities.  The FPS is applicable to most forms of digital communication, including emails, phone calls and texts, and applies to all charities.  People can opt out via the FPS website, which subsequently notifies the charity of the request.  There have been mixed feelings about its introduction across the Third Sector.

Social Media Giving

In 2017, social media giant Facebook announced that it was rolling out a Donate button in the UK and Europe.  Donate buttons had already been around in the US for some time prior and had proved to be a big hit.  This has had a massive impact for a select number of UK charities, enabling them to diversify their fundraising to one of the most successful social media platforms in the world.

Improved Morale

According to Third Sector, morale amongst those working in the Charity Sector was the highest that it has been since 2008, even higher than it was 12 months ago.  The study shows that this pertained to increased job and pay satisfaction.

Data Protection + Security Threats

There has been heighten awareness about data protection, especially since the RSPCA and British Heart Foundation incurred fines of tens of thousands of pounds for contravening the Data Protection Act.  

Following in the cyber attacks on the NHS earlier in the year, there has also been more attention funnelled towards cyber protection for charities.

Charity Sector - VS Group - 2017