Two thirds of Scottish charities are entirely volunteer run, regulator reveals

More than two thirds of Scottish charities are entirely volunteer run, according to latest research.

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has found that 68% of Scotland’s 25,000 registered charities are run entirely by volunteers, including their trustees, and have no paid staff.

Its 2021 overview of the Scottish charity sector also found that the majority (51%) of charities in Scotland have an income of less than £25,000 a year and a third have an annual income of less than £10,000.

The regulator also looked at the value of the sector to Scotland’s economy. It found that it employs more than 200,000 staff and has a combined annual income of more than £13bn, making it financially a similar size to the Scottish NHS.

Larger charities, with incomes of more than £500,000, make up under one in ten (9%) of charities registered in Scotland but dominate the sector’s combined income figures.

Almost all (92%) of the charity sector’s gross annual income is from these larger charities, the regulator found.

Meanwhile, just over half (51%) of Scottish charities are focused on improving education, more than a third (36%) seek to promote community development, while a quarter (25%) give relief to disadvantaged people.

In addition, children and young people are the most popular beneficiaries, cited by 47%. People with disabilities (23%) and older people (22%) are the next most popular.

“Charities are the cornerstone of a strong society and a flourishing economy,” said OSCR chief executive Maureen Mallon.

“That’s why we’ve published 'Scottish Charities 2021' so that we can ensure that everyone in Scotland is aware of the scale, scope and contribution that charities make to our national fabric.

“We hope by publishing a range of data and insights into the sector we can continue to build public confidence and ensure that policy makers and planners can make informed decisions in future.

She added: “We want to continue to build public confidence in charities and allow these vital organisations to thrive and cement their place at the heart of our day-to-day life.”

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