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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.

State of the sector: run by volunteers but a major economic player

This news post is 8 months old

Charities are a major contributor to the Scottish economy

A new snapshot of Scotland’s charity sector shows that two thirds of organisations are run entirely by volunteers.

However, the sector is still a major employer and contributor to the Scottish economy.

Figures compiled Scotland’s charity regulator, OSCR, show that charities employ almost 213,000 people as paid staff, which is equivalent to nine per cent of Scotland’s workforce.

However, around two thirds of charities employ no paid staff and are run entirely by volunteers, including trustees.

Meanwhile it has been shown that the gross annual income of Scottish charities on the Scottish Charity Register is £15.1 billion.

All of the data comes from OSCR’s just-published Sector Overview Report.

It provides a snapshot of the charity sector in Scotland over the last three months, based on the information provided by charities on the Scottish Charity Register.

The report covers various aspects, such as the number and types of charities in Scotland, their income and expenditure, their purposes and beneficiaries, and their trustees, staff and volunteers.

OSCR says the Sector Overview Report is a dynamic, interactive report which allows readers to filter data and select different options to view the most relevant information.

Some of the key figures from the report, which covers the period from July to September 2023, include:

  • 194charities have been registered in the last quarter, and 282 charities have been removed from the Scottish Charity Register.
  • The gross annual income of Scottish charities on the Scottish Charity Register is £15.1bn.
  • The majority of charities (56%) report annual incomes of £0 to £25,000, while only four per centreport annual incomes of over £1 million. This shows that the charity sector is dominated by small and micro charities.
  • It is estimated that there are 184,000 trusteesof charities on the Scottish Charity Register, with charities having eight on average.
  • The most common charitable purposes are the advancement of education(51%), the advancement of citizenship or community development (37%), and the advancement arts, heritage, culture or science (24%).

The updated interactive report can be found on OSCR’s Sector Overview Report page.