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The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) regularly commissions surveys on Scottish charities to give is further knowledge of charity life and public trust and confidence.

The latest survey took place in 2018 and you can find the results, together with the results of previous surveys, in the Scottish Charity Survey section below.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, OSCR commissioned a survey to find out the impact of COVID-19 on charities. You can find the results of this in the COVID-19 impact on charities survey section below.

On 05 May 2020, OSCR emailed the principal contacts of all Scottish charities to ask for their help with completing a short survey. The survey asked questions on the impact to the charity of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the subsequent lockdown measures. The research was conducted until 15 May 2020, with 4,827 responses providing insights from a large number and representative cross section of registered Scottish charities.

The results told us that:

  • charities have been active in countering the impact of COVID-19 on their organisation, with 95% having taken some type of action
  • cancelling or postponing planned work or events was the single most common impact of COVID-19 and the associated lockdown upon charities, with 78% affected in this way
  • over half of the charities (51%) had lost income from fundraising. Two in five (42%) had lost income from other sources such as trading
  • nearly a third (29%) of charities had seen a decrease in the number of volunteers with which they engaged
  • one in five (20%) reported a critical threat to their financial viability in the next 12 months
  • one in five (20%) Scottish charities predicted that they would be unable to do the work they were set up to do at some point in the next 12 months.

The survey also asked respondents to submit recommendations to OSCR. The most common recommendation asked us to continue with the current level of support (17%). Besides that, charities asked for more general support on funding, more flexibility with deadlines/payments and for OSCR to inform them on government guidelines.

These findings will be used to inform OSCR’s work, as well as to help local and national government, funders, public bodies and others in supporting the Scottish charity sector.

Detailed Survey Data

We are making the survey data tables available for further research and analysis. 

Data table and subgroup notes:

  • Charities were able to select more than one sector so there is some overlap between charities in individual sectors. This also applies to the net sector groups.
  • Charities were also able to select more than one income type so there is overlap between charities in these groups. This also applies to the net income type groups.
  • More detail can be found in the questionnaire.
  • Findings from groups with small numbers of respondents should be interpreted cautiously.
  • The BETA subgroup charts are working copies intended to help identify patterns or trends within groups. They are not comprehensive and do not show a complete set of results for every question. This document may be updated as further analysis is carried out. If making use of the findings shown in the charts it is always best to check the corresponding data table to ensure you are aware of the full picture. 

The detailed survey data is available below:


The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) regularly commissions surveys on Scottish charities to give us further knowledge of charity life and public trust and confidence.

Our latest two survey results, published 24 May 2018, show that the public’s score for trust in charities has remained the same since 2016 and confirm support from both the public and charities for the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and its work.

In the reports, independent research organisation Progressive presents the views of 1,000 members of the public and 1,200 charity representatives as well as findings from public focus groups and in-depth telephone interviews with charities.

As in previous years, OSCR’s stakeholder surveys asked members of the public whether and how they support charities, what levels of interest and support they have for charities, what issues of concern they had, and how aware they were of OSCR and its work. Charities were asked about the challenges they faced and how satisfied they were in dealing with the Regulator.

Key points from 2018 include:

  • Overall public trust in charities is around the same level as two years ago with a mean trust score of 6.14 out of 10 in 2018 compared to 6.08 in 2016.
  • Trust was higher for local charities than Scotland-wide, UK and international charities.
  • Public knowledge of OSCR has increased significantly. Members of the public who were aware of OSCR have greater levels of trust and 85% say that OSCR’s role is important.
  • There was strong support for charities using the OSCR Registration logo on their materials. Results showed that a significantly higher proportion of people would donate to a charity with the logo included when compared to all other options.

You can read the results from our previous surveys below: