George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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12 June 2018

Generous people across Scotland gave an estimated £1.2 billion to charity in 2017, a large increase from the estimated £813 million donated in 2016, according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). 

CAF’s Scotland Giving report is now in its second year and is the only major study of its kind. It found that Scotland accounts for 11.8% of all UK charitable donations, despite representing 8.4% of the UK’s population. 

However, CAF found no increase in the number of people giving money to charity year-on-year. The increase in donations was driven by the same number of people giving more, with the average (mean) donation amount increasing from £36 in 2016 to £60 in 2017. 

The 2018 report is based on YouGov monthly polling of people in Scotland between January and December of 2017, with an overall sample size of 1,061 adults revealing how the Scottish public gives to the causes that they care about.

Today’s report also found that the most popular causes supported by those in Scotland were children and young people, with 28% of those surveyed saying they had donated to this cause. This was followed by medical research (27%) and animal welfare (25%).  

The report also found that two-thirds (66%) of people took part in a charitable or social activity, such as volunteering for a charity, donating money or goods, or buying an ethical product. More than half (56%) of those interviewed said they signed a petition in the previous 12 months, while 27% had done so over the previous four weeks. This reflects a pattern across the UK as a whole, and suggests that rapid political change has encouraged people to become more involved in causes and issues.

Scotland Giving 2018 GRAPH 1

Other key findings of the 2018 Scotland Giving report include:

  • Young people aged 16 – 24 are passionate about civil society;  they’re the most likely age group to volunteer, buy an ethical product and of all the charitable activities they take part in, are most likely to have signed a petition
  • Only 51% said they used Gift Aid on their donations. This means that in Scotland alone, tens of millions of pounds a year is being lost when it could be going to the causes that need it most
  • Cash remains the main way in which people give and this has actually increased between 2016 and 2017

CAF Chief Executive Sir John Low said: “It’s great to see the total amount donated increasing across Scotland. Activism is also on the rise, perhaps reflecting the turbulent times in which we live. This paints a picture of a thriving, vibrant society of which we should all be proud. 

“It’s easy to take the work of our charities for granted – indeed CAF’s research over many years shows that millions of people benefit from their work without even realising it. But this report shows how much people value good causes. Without the support of these generous donors, we would all be so much the poorer.” 

Read Scotland Giving 2018

Notes to editors

1. Across the UK as a whole, an estimated £10.3billion was donated to charity in 2017.

2. CAF is one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. It exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed. We are CAF and we make giving count.

3. Since 2004, CAF has been tracking giving in the UK as a whole under the ‘UK Giving’ banner and has been monitoring giving behaviours for several decades. We are delighted to be able to produce this annual look at charitable giving in Scotland much earlier in the calendar year for 2018 so that charities can start benefiting from it as soon as possible. Across the UK, we interview a representative sample of c.1,000 individuals online each month of the year, with the market research agency YouGov. This generated 12,211 interviews across the UK in 2017 alone, and within Scotland, a sample size of 1,061 to report on this year. This increased sample size from 2016 enables us to look at the results in more detail than previously.

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