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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.

Applying to become a registered charity in Scotland

When you have everything you need, you should apply to Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

Here’s a quick checklist of things you will need:

  • Your name
  • Your legal structure
  • Your charitable purposes
  • Details of the person who will be the principal contact for OSCR
  • A copy of your constitution to upload with your application
  • Completed Trustee declaration forms for all your Trustees
  • Information about the activities your organisation will carry out

More about your application

OSCR only accepts online applications to register as a charity.

If your organisation has been operating before you apply to register as a charity you will need to submit any financial information that your organisation already has, as well as any information about activities that you are already doing.

You will need to be able to give details about your activities and explain how they will achieve your charitable purposes.

OSCR will also look at whether your organisation restricts access to any of the benefits you provide and, if you do, whether this limits who can access the benefits (or services) that the organisation provides.

The main restrictions that OSCR look at are charges and fees for services, geographical area, and any limits on who the charity will help.

If your organisation is carrying out activities in other countries OSCR may ask you for more information about how you will protect the charity finances in these countries.

Make sure you answer the questions in the application and, if you can, ask someone else to read the answers before you submit.

Links to OSCR website

Apply now on the OSCR website

For more guidance, including how to complete the application form, you should visit:

What to expect

OSCR aim to process applications within 100 days. If they need to come back to you to ask for any more information about your application, it may take longer than this. You will have an allocated person within OSCR who is dealing with your application, and they will tend to use email to respond to you.

What to do if your application is rejected

If your organisation does not meet the charity test and you disagree with the decision made by OSCR, you can ask them to review it.

Requests for reviews can be made by the person or charity that is the subject of the decision.

To make a request, contact the Review Officer ( within 21 days of the date of their decision letter. You can read more about OSCR's review processes on their website.

Last modified on 1 February 2023
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