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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.

Finance, fundraising & trading


Finance and fundraising strategies will need to adapt to the changes caused by the pandemic. You may need to budget for increased costs and review income forecasts.

You may need to consider your reliance on street or public collections, sponsorship and fundraising events, and the potential financial impact on trading subsidiaries.

As stock prices have fallen, investment income and the value of pension schemes could be impacted. Look at your assets and reserves and take professional advice where appropriate. Your board may want to consider a more flexible approach to using any restricted reserves the organisation has.


While most legal restrictions have been removed, there are still elements to consider when thinking about carrying out any form of public facing activity. The guidance below does not cover when to restart fundraising as this is a decision that individual organisations will need to make based on their own situation.

Useful Resources

The following resources include more guidance on restarting fundraising:

1. Keep up to date with Government guidance

When planning any form of fundraising with the public, ensure you check official Scottish Government guidance for your area that may affect your fundraising activity.

All fundraising activity should continue to adhere to the Code of Fundraising Practice which sets the standards that apply to fundraising carried out by all charitable institutions in the UK.

2. Carry out risk assessments and ensure appropriate measures are in place

If you do decide to continue with fundraising activities, carry out risk assessments and be transparent on the measures you have put in place to keep people safe. The Health and Safety Executive have risk assessment templates. Your risk assessment should cover:

  • The type of fundraising activity you are carrying out
  • Any potential risks to volunteers, staff or the public
  • The actions you will take to minimise or remove the risk that someone could be exposed to Covid-19 because of your activity

Some of the measures you might put in place in your risk assessment include:

  • Limiting the attendance at an event
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures
  • Mandating face coverings in indoor or crowded areas
  • Training fundraisers on new requirements

VisitScotland have produced guidance for the events sector with information on restarting events and considerations for event communications. Much of the guidance can be applied to fundraising events.

3. Consider public mood and changes to the way people donate

You should consider the public mood and likely feelings and preferences of supporters. Even although legal restrictions have been removed, people may not want to engage or donate in the same ways as before the pandemic and fundraisers should continue to follow responsible fundraising practices.

Some members of the public may still be anxious about interacting with others so check that they are happy to talk with you and be respectful about personal space. Listen to any feedback and be able to explain to the public and others how you are carrying out your fundraising activity safely.

You might consider other forms of fundraising you could use. As less people will be using cash, do you have other ways to collect public donations such as contactless card payments? Are you using digital and virtual fundraising tools?

4. Wellbeing and fundraising

Recent research showed that less than a third (30%) of fundraisers felt their organisation had a great health and wellbeing culture. In response to this and the increased demand on fundraisers caused by Covid-19, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF) have developed a guide to help fundraisers look after their own and their colleagues wellbeing.

You can access the guide on the CIoF website and SCVO have more guidance on mental health and wellbeing as part of our Coronavirus hub.


Most types of trading have been negatively impacted by the crisis, but options are opening up again as we begin to recover.

Increasing numbers of charitable organisations are considering different ways to add to their income mix, and enterprise can offer a number of benefits:

  • Generating unrestricted funds
  • Creating training and employment opportunities
  • Increasing volunteer positions available
  • Opportunities for partnerships and collaborations
  • Wider reach and public awareness

However, trading income is not a silver bullet and often requires investment, alongside the right mindset and capabilities within your staff team.  You may also need to consider your legal structure and charitable purposes and if trading activity can sit within that, or if you’d prefer a trading subsidiary.

To understand the nuts and bolts of charitable trading visit OSCR’s Guidance and Forms and search Trading, where you can find all sorts of useful information including this Guide.

If you decide that you would like to further explore how developing your income streams to include trade could benefit your charity, visit Just Enterprise to register for one to one support.

An independent and expert consultant will work with your organisation from generating ideas, or evaluating and prioritising them, carrying out feasibility studies and income models, to helping with marketing and reaching customers.
Last modified on 16 November 2022
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