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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Scots donated £1.1bn despite dwindling donor numbers


New way of modelling data

Scots donated £1.1 billion to charity last year despite household financial pressures rising.

The data is revealed in this year’s UK Giving Report, the Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) long-running  survey which shows the public gave an estimated £13.9 billion in the UK, compared to £12.7 billion given in 2022.

For the first time, the report uses statistical modelling by Electoral Calculus to reveal that some of the least affluent areas in the country are among the most generous in supporting charities.

Nearly a third of Scotland’s parliamentary constituencies are in the 100 most generous constituencies in the UK.

As a proportion of household income, people in Edinburgh donate an average of 1.8% of their disposable income to charity compared to 2.5% in Belfast, 2.1% in Cardiff and 1.3% in London.

Donors in Edinburgh West are the most generous, giving an average of 2.6% of their household income to good causes each year.

This compares to the least generous constituency in Scotland of Edinburgh North and Leith, where people donate 1.1% of their household income.

According to CAF, there are fewer people regularly donating to charity compared to before the pandemic. Across the UK, nearly six in ten (58%) donated or sponsored in the past 12 months, compared to 65% in 2019 and 69% in 2016.

Edinburgh West2.6%
Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire2.3%
East Renfrewshire2.2%
Glasgow West2.2%
North East Fife2.2%
Mid Dunbartonshire2.2%
Dunfermline and Dollar2.2%
Gordon and Buchan2.1%
Stirling and Strathallan2.1%
Most generous constituencies in Scotland as a proportion of income

The cost-of-living crisis following the Covid-19 pandemic is putting significant pressures on charities who are facing higher demand for their services, inflated costs and declining income.

Yet, the typical donation to charity – the amount given by most people- has remained unchanged at £20 for seven years. A donation of £20 to charity in 2017 would need to increase to more than £25 for a charity to buy the same amount of goods and services in 2024. 

Neil Heslop OBE, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “The UK is a generous country, and CAF’s UK Giving Report shows how we can come together, to give more to causes that matter to us, even when times are tough. But it’s concerning that we’re relying on a dwindling group of regular givers, and the typical donation is static and eroded by inflation.

“Levels of generosity are also uneven across the country, so we need to foster a more widespread and sustainable culture of giving to support charities that are squeezed from all sides. Government can set the tone by committing to drawing up a national strategy for philanthropy and charitable giving, ideally as part of a renewed approach to the whole of civil society in every part of the UK.”



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