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4 out of 5 Scottish charities report financial concerns

16 Jun 2022

80% of Scottish charities have reported that financial issues surrounding funding and running costs were among their top three challenges. This is one of the key findings of new research published today (Thursday 16 June) by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

The 2022 edition of the bi-annual Scottish Charity Survey also shows that the Scottish public’s faith in the country’s charity sector also remains high following a sharp increase in confidence at the beginning of the 2020.

This new survey represents the first opportunity for observers to understand how the relationship between the Scottish public and the charity sector has evolved since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Findings include that over the past two years:

  • Charities reported that financial concerns were their most pressing issues, with 80% of charities reported that financial issues surrounding funding and running costs were among their top three challenges.
  • Trust in charities remains stable, with a mean score of 6.8 out of 10. This compares to 7.02 in 2020, 6.14 in 2018 and 6.08 in 2016. Almost nine in ten (86%) members of the public have also donated to charity this year, with 15% volunteering their time.
  • The Scottish public predict that charities will play an even more important role in people’s lives over the coming years, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the increases in cost of living, the conflict in Ukraine, and other macroeconomic changes continue making the lives of vulnerable people more challenging.
  • Around 9 in 10 of the Scottish public view the role of OSCR in regulating Scotland’s 25,000 charities as important.

The 2022 survey took place between 04 February and 09 March. More than 1500 people completed the public questionnaire or took part in one of four focus groups. More than 2300 charity representatives completed the charities questionnaire or took part in an in-depth interview. 

Speaking on the publication of this report, OSCR Chief Executive Maureen Mallon said:

“We’re delighted to be able to publish this year’s edition of the Scottish Charity Survey. This new research shines a light on how people in Scotland view the charity sector, as well as highlighting the key issues and challenges that Scotland’s 25,000 charities have faced over the past two years.

“It’s clear that the boost in public confidence that charities received during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic has been retained, and that this confidence has translated into a high level of donations of cash and goods, albeit at a slightly lower level than in 2020.

“Charities themselves have also highlighted the financial challenges that they face, with around 80% reporting that financial issues including supporting running costs, fundraising and finding non-Government funding are top of their concerns for this year.

“By developing a better understanding of the charity sector in Scotland, OSCR aims to help decision makers across government make informed decisions on our future, and how this may impact on this vital group of organisations. As charities are seen to increasingly step into fill the gaps in the provision of public services, it’s more important than ever that this work is properly considered when taking action at all levels.

“We are also reassured that our role as the charity regulator for the sector is well understood and supported by both charities and the public. We look forward to building on this trust and support over the months and years ahead.”  

A full copy of the report can be found here.

If you would like to find out more about how we conducted the survey, OSCR's Data and Research Officer Wendy Marsden, has produced a blog here.