Financial vulnerability describes a non-profit organisation's susceptibility to crisis in the wake of financial turbulence, particularly if such crises are likely to culminate in an organisation failing to deliver its mission. As a concept, ‘financial vulnerability’ has particular resonance in times of economic upheaval and uncertainty and it has emerged as one of the pervading discourses of non-profit–state relations in the United Kingdom (UK) during the past four years. Despite this apparent importance, it has been paid relatively little attention by researchers of the UK third sector. This article draws on lessons from research on the financial vulnerability of non-profit organisations in the United States and UK pilot studies to discuss the benefits, applications and methodological challenges of undertaking such research on the UK third sector, and to set out steps that need to be taken if financial vulnerability in the third sector is to become a clearly defined topic for future research.
Chris DaysonCentre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University, UK