The first annual Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) ‘Scotland Giving’ report has revealed that Scots are more generous than the UK as a whole.

The major new survey is based on a monthly tracking survey by leading opinion research firm, YouGov, and outlines how Scots support charities across the country. It was published by the Charities Aid Foundation, one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations.

It found that Scots are more likely to donate money to charity in the past year than people across the UK (65% vs 61%), volunteer their time (19% vs 17%), donate goods to charity (58% vs 56%), and sponsor a friend or colleague (40% vs 37%).

Overall, the survey found people living in Scotland donated £813 million to charity in 2016. This represents 8.4% of the £9.7 billion donated to charity across the UK with Scotland accounting for 8.2% of the population.

The report also shows that young people in Scotland are more engaged with charity than the UK as a whole: 94% of 16-24 year olds reported they had done some form of charitable activity in the preceding year, significantly higher than the UK average which stands at 89%.

Key findings from the report:

  • Around one in five Scots volunteered their time during the past year
  • Nearly 60% had given goods to a charity shop or other good cause
  • More than half had signed a petition
  • Medical research was the most popular cause, followed by animal welfare, children and young people and disaster relief

At the SNP’s October Conference, MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, hosted an event on ‘The Status of Giving and Charities in Scotland’, which brought together CAF and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) to discuss the findings of the report.

Commenting, Ruth said:

“This new report provides invaluable insight into the generosity and giving habits of Scots.

Not only does it provide crucial research for charities and third sector organisations, who rely on public funding, but it is also highly encouraging to note that Scots are markedly more generous than the UK as a whole – something we should all be rightfully proud about.

It was a pleasure to host a positive and engaging discussion at conference around the findings of the report – and what conclusions and encouragement we can draw from them.

I look forward to the CAF Scotland Giving report becoming an annual event in the Scottish charity calendar.”

Commenting on the report Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“This important new research confirms that Scots are incredibly generous and dedicated to supporting the causes they care about.

However you look at it, Scotland performs incredibly well and this shows the amazing culture of giving we have here in Scotland, of which we should all be very proud.

What is particularly encouraging is the level of 16-24 year olds who are engaged in charitable activity in Scotland – this bodes well for the future.

We believe this report is the first of its kind, and we hope it will help build the amazing vibrant culture of charities in Scotland and help them expand the amazing work which supports so many people across the country.”

Chief Executive of SCVO, Martin Sime, added:

“SCVO and our members welcome this first ever CAF Scottish Giving Report. It’s always valuable to understand public attitudes and behaviours towards charities, especially when many third sector organisations rely on the generosity of the public.

Through our own work over the years we’ve had a strong sense that people in Scotland are very supportive of charities, and it’s encouraging that in a number of areas this new research shows the picture is indeed somewhat rosier in Scotland than in the rest of the UK – for example in volunteering, and donations.

This is invaluable research, and we look forward to gathering even more information in the future and using the insight this provides to both improve trust in charities and increase all kinds of charitable giving in Scotland.”


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