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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Individual Giving in Scotland

Individual giving via donations, legacies and fundraising was worth £1,133 m to the Scottish charity sector in 2021. The value of individual giving doubled over the last decade, in part thanks to time and effort invested by charities and voluntary groups in things like new funding strategies, funding sub-committees, recruitment of fundraisers and profile raising.

However, we saw a downturn in fundraising income particularly in 2021, primarily because of COVID-19 and the cancellation or postponement of small and large fundraising events. Donations income also fell, particularly in 2022 - this appears to be less linked to the pandemic, and was instead due to the Cost-of-Living crisis impacting on people’s ability to give.

As a result, difficulty fundraising has been one of the top challenges reported in the Scottish Third Sector Tracker over the last two years and seems to be a growing area of concern.

This SCVO briefing pulls together some key facts about the individual giving landscape in Scotland and UK, using a range of data sources including the Scottish Third Sector Tracker and CAF.

Read the Individual Giving in Scotland briefing here.

Key Stats

  • 80% of Scottish charities receive donations and fundraised income from the public.
  • Individual giving – donations, legacies and fundraised income - was worth £1,133m to Scottish charity sector in 2021, and accounted for 16% of the Scottish charity sector’s income in 2020/21.
  • That £1, 133m was made up of: Donations (£530m), Legacies (£136m) and Fundraising (£467m).
  • The value of individual giving has more than doubled in the last decade, from £470m in 2011 to over £1bn in 2018 due to strong growth in both donations and legacies, alongside a large jump in fundraising income.
  • However, between 2018 and 2021 individual giving income then dropped from £1.2bn to £1.1bn. This drop was due to a 19% fall in the value of donations - a 27% drop when we take inflation into account.
  • Although many organisations saw increases in fundraising and donations in the last 3 months of 2022, these are outweighed by the number reporting decreases.
  • The current Cost of Living crisis is a major factor behind people’s reduced likelihood to donate.
  • High inflation rates are currently a concern for the sector on several fronts – as well as rising fundraising costs, overheads and staffing costs, the real term value of donations such as Direct Debits is being gradually eroded.

Read the Individual Giving in Scotland briefing here.

Last modified on 29 May 2024