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The 2022 Scottish Charity Survey: How we did it

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We call it the Scottish Charity Survey but it was in fact two separate surveys each with their own questionnaire. The core aim of the public questionnaire was to track changing levels of trust and confidence in the charity sector among the Scottish general public. The charity questionnaire gathered the views of nominated representatives of charities that are present on the Scottish Charity Register about public trust, challenges, support needs and OSCR’s work. Each survey also had an associated piece of qualitative research: for the public there were focus groups and for the charities there were in-depth interviews

The Data and Research Team started thinking about the 2022 Scottish Charity Survey back in August 2021 with an initial triage of the questionnaires used in 2020. As we worked on this we started to shape the 2022 survey questionnaires.  We wanted to keep some questions the same as previous surveys so that we continue to build longitudinal data; we also wanted to introduce matching questions into both questionnaires so that we could compare views of the public and charities on particular topics. We also reviewed  public and charities surveys carried out by Regulators in England and Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland since  we all carry out these surveys on a regular basis and learn from each other’s surveys and findings as we go. We talked with the OSCR Extended Leadership Team, Board members and charity sector research colleagues as we considered and shaped the questions for each survey.  

The procurement process which led to us identifying a supplier for the survey took place in December 2021 and took us into new territory, with the Crown Commercial Service Research Marketplace Dynamic Purchasing System. It might be a long title but it worked out well, without going into the details of completing of forms, supporting documents, filtering, selecting, evaluating and contracting, most helpfully supported by the Procurement Team in Scottish Government, we happily were able to award  a contract to DJS Research in Dec 2021. Following that we moved swiftly into the fine tuning of the questions and DJS went to work on the recruitment.

Recruitment from panels is an effective way of being able to reach a cross section of the public that is broadly representative of the Scottish population as a whole, and this method was used to recruit participants for the public survey. The online survey ran in February and received a total of 1,502 valid responses. Quotas and weighting were applied to the dataset to ensure that it was representative of the wider Scottish public by age, gender, region and socio-economic group. The charities we surveyed were randomly selected from the Scottish Charity Register and we increased the survey sample size to boost the robustness of the data and analysis. The charity questionnaire also ran in February, and a sampling frame based on region and income produced 11,948 unique charity records drawn from the Charity Register. Each charity was invited by email to participate in the research. 2,347 surveys were completed which gave us a 20% response rate. The final dataset was weighted by income and region.

The qualitative research commenced after the surveys had launched. Responses from initial survey responses were used to help inform topics and scripts. Four focus group discussions were conducted by video conference call with members of the public who had donated to charity in the last year. Fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted with nominated charity representatives. These interviews were conducted over the telephone or via video conference call and lasted around 30 minutes.

All of this work produced a substantial amount of data for analysis. The overall findings are now published in the DJS report Scottish Charity and Public Survey 2022, you can read it or download a copy here. The data collected will continue to be used to answer further research questions internally and in accordance with our policy of sharing survey data it will be placed on the Data and Research webpage in due course free for you to download.