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2018 donations down but Scots still more charitable than UK as a whole

2018 donations down but Scots still more charitable than UK as a whole

Just over three-quarters of Scottish people say they took part in a charitable or social activity in 2018 – higher than the UK average – yet the overall amount they donated fell, according to the CAF Giving Report for 2019.

In total, 76% of Scots reported that they had taken part in a charitable or social activity in 2018, 12% higher than the UK average of 64%. However, the overall amount donated by Scottish people to charity in 2018 fell to £851 million, from a peak of £1.2 billion in 2017. The total UK figure for 2018 was £10.1 billion.

The latest CAF Scotland Giving Report also shows that the percentage of Scottish people donating money, sponsoring someone and volunteering dropped between 2016 and 2018, but was still higher than the UK average.

61% said they had donated money to charity in the past year, while when asked if they had done so in the previous four weeks to being questioned, 32% of Scots reported that they had done so during 2018, down from 33% in 2017 and 37% in 2016.

58% had given goods to charity in the last year, while 16% had volunteered. This dropped to 27% and 8% respectively when asked about activity in the previous month, in comparison to 23% and 11% in 2016.

Other findings include:

  • There was a decrease in the percentage of people giving money to charity in the last 4 weeks between 2016 and 2018 (from 37% to 32%). Sponsoring someone for charity has also decreased from 13% to 9% over this period
  • Frequency of giving has decreased from 31% giving weekly or monthly in 2017 to 27% in 2018: a trend seen across the UK
  • Women are more likely than men to engage in charitable or social activities, with 92% of women having done so in the last 12 months compared to 88% of men
  • The top three causes that people donate to were the same between 2016 and 2018: children and young people, medical research and animal welfare
  • There has been a decrease in the methods by which people are asked to give, with on-the-street and direct mail in particular having fallen back year on year

In regards to trust, CAF also found that the figure of those saying they ‘strongly’ or ‘tend to’ trust charities in 2018 was very similar to 2017 at 49% (compared to 50% in 2017 and 52% in 2016). In the UK as a whole however, the figure is 48%: lower than 2017’s figure of 51%.

’s annual Scotland Giving report is based on monthly polling and covers data collected over 2016, 2017 and 2018. According to CAF, its findings echo trends seen throughout the UK.

Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at CAF commented:

“Having three years of data enables us to paint a more robust picture of how Scottish people give, and there are some potentially worrying trends.

“The number of people in the UK regularly giving to charity has been in decline for three years, so Scotland isn’t unique in this regard. We’ll also be closely monitoring the percentage of people in Scotland who say that they trust charities, as there’s been a general decline across the UK as a whole.”

The full report can be downloaded from the CAF site. 

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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