Lianne Lodge: Charity definitely begins at home

The average Scot is extremely warm-hearted, hospitable and generous. Picture: John Devlin
The average Scot is extremely warm-hearted, hospitable and generous. Picture: John Devlin
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SCOTS philanthropists are very generous, writes Lianne Lodge

Despite cartoon caricatures depicting Scots as Scrooge-like with moths in their wallets where daylight rarely penetrates, the truth is that the average Scot is extremely warm-hearted, hospitable and generous.

This is borne out by the latest set of statistics on Scotland’s Rich List which shows that Scottish philanthropists gave almost £230 million to charity last year.

Well known Scots, including JK Rowling, Sir Ian Wood, Sir Brian Souter, Ann Gloag, Lord Laidlaw and Sir Tom Hunter, gave generously to charities and causes.

Many of those who donate on a large scale do so through setting up their own charities or foundations.

With corporate social responsibility becoming ever more important for businesses, increasing numbers of people are looking to share their financial achievements with society as a whole.

While this is an admirable intent and can make big differences to people’s lives in Scotland (and further afield) taking such a step demands good governance and must adhere to rigorous regulation.

Any new charity must register with OSCR (the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) and to do this it must be established to benefit one of the charitable purposes defined in legislation. The list of these is wide-reaching including assisting those in poverty, ill health or promoting religion, education, sports, arts, environmental protection, culture, or animal welfare amongst other things.

Reassuringly, perhaps, charities and funders are becoming far more strategic about social impact and many now look for a return figure for every £1 spend.

A charity must adhere to their constitution, operate according to all employment and governance legislation and will be scrutinised on that basis.

We should be proud of the fact that Scots are demonstrating such a positive approach to helping others.

• Lianne Lodge, Associate at Gillespie Macandrew