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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.

Voluntary sector in the economy article series

Thought leadership articles from across the public, private and voluntary sector

SCVO believes that the voluntary sector is as crucial to our society’s economic wellbeing as the public and private sectors.  

So we’ve commissioned thought leaders from across society to write articles to encourage debate and help us build up our knowledge and understanding to inform SCVO’s policy in this area. 

We’ll publish these articles as they come in. If you’re interested in what you’re reading and would like to comment or contribute, please get in touchHere are some of the responses we've received to these articles.

How funders can accelerate the journey to a wellbeing economy

By Gile Ruck, chief executive of Foundation Scotland

Foundation Scotland is exploring how funders can tackle the root cause of social problems instead of paying for lots of sticking plasters. Read more

The third sector is a major social and economic actor

By Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government

Following Covid, the Scottish Government recognises the crisis role of the third sector is important, but so too is its role as a major social and economic actor in recovery and beyond. Read more

Growing the economic impact of Scotland’s social enterprise

By Alastair Davis, chief executive of Social Impact Scotland

The social enterprise sector can only achieve exponential growth in economic impact through mainstreaming its products and services. Read more

Let’s unleash the power of people and build community wealth

By Neil McInroy, senior fellow for global advancement of Community Wealth Building, Democracy Collective

Community Wealth Building could provide the practical answer to transforming Scotland's economic system, providing the third sector with opportunities to support healthier and happier communities. Read more

Economic disruption is essential for social change

By Professor Iain Black, professor of sustainable consumption at the University of Stirling

The third sector must help disrupt the existing growth focused economic goal to ensure social and environmental goals are achieved. Read more

The economic power of a healthy organisational eco-system

By Sandy Macdonald, director of public policy at Scottish Financial Enterprise

No one sector is responsible for social or economic success. This article explores some of the ways the third sector is helping the business sector achieve economic success. Read more

The challenges of measuring the economic contribution of the third sector

By Professor Mairi Spowage, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute

We have never attempted to estimate the overall economic contribution of the third sector, until now. The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) explains what it's doing to paint a picture of the true economic impact of Scottish charities. Read more

Stepping in where markets fail

By Margaret McSporran, head of social enterprise development at Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Social businesses are stepping in when markets fail bringing £165m and more than 7,000 full time jobs to the Highlands and Islands. Read more

Great partnerships create resilient and impactful organisations

By Dr Siobhan Jordan, director of Interface

Bringing together the innovative thinking and ethos of Scotland’s incredible charities and social enterprises with the innovation ecosystem in our universities and colleges can help to spark a new wave of third sector services. Read more

The third sector’s role in a Wellbeing Economy 

By Jimmy Paul of the Wellbeing Alliance Scotland  

It is hard to imagine how we can build a Wellbeing Economy without a flourishing third sector. But, the same applies in reverse – it is hard to imagine a flourishing third sector without a Wellbeing Economy. We need a Wellbeing Economy so that we can focus on delivering the things that make life worthwhile rather than just the things that make life possible. Read more

CHAS: a force for economic good

By Rami Okasha

Nobody can argue with the social value of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland, but in 2021 the charity also measured its economic value and uncovered surprising financial benefits for Scottish society. Read more

The voluntary sector as a super sector 

By Sarah Davidson

The voluntary sector – which empowers citizens, sustains wellbeing and advocates for change – is undoubtedly a super sector: striving for progress towards social, economic, environmental and democratic outcomes. Read more

There is no route to economic recovery which does not include civil society 

By Dame Julia Unwin 

The challenge of economic recovery is too big for any sector to deliver alone, it is only by the active engagement of all parts of the economy, working both at national, regional and local scale that we will be able to secure that recovery. Read more 

We need to start thinking bigger when it comes to value 

By Anoushka Kenley

Why is the official value of civil society so small? National accounts, the economic statistics that tell us about the overall size of the economy and how much different industries (like hotels and restaurants) contribute to it, don’t actually tell us how much the social sector contributes. Read more  

Last modified on 16 May 2022
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