Scottish people are more generous than people in the UK as a whole when it comes to being charitable, but the percentage of people giving to charity is falling, according to the largest study of giving behaviour in the country.
In total, just over three quarters of people north of the Border reported that they had taken part in a charitable or social activity in 2018, 12 percentage points higher than the UK average of 64 per cent.
However, the overall amount donated by Scottish people to charity in 2018 fell to £851 million, down from a peak of £1.2 billion in 2017, according to the Charities Aid Foundation’s annual Scotland Giving report.
When asked if they had donated money to charity in the previous four weeks, 32 per cent of Scots reported that they had done so during 2018, down slightly from 33 per cent in 2017 and 37 per cent in 2016. When it came to sponsoring someone for charity in the previous month, the number dropped to 9 per cent in 2018, four percentage points lower than the 13 per cent seen in 2016.
Meanwhile, just 8 per cent of Scottish people reported volunteering during the four weeks before the survey took place in 2018, compared to 11 per cent in the same survey two years earlier. The frequency of giving also decreased last year, from 31 per cent giving weekly or monthly in 2017 compared to 27 per cent in 2018.
The findings echo trends seen throughout the United Kingdom.
Susan Pinkney, head of research at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “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.”
She added: “Charities form part of the bedrock of Scottish society, contributing to so many cultural, social, religious and educational activities. While we may find ourselves in uncertain political times, these ties in our communities are worth fighting to protect.”
In Scotland, the figure of those saying they “strongly” or “tend to” trust charities in 2018 was very similar to the previous year at 49 per cent.
The recently released UK charity landscape survey of charity chief executives found that nearly six in ten charity leaders think that the sector has been badly impacted by recent negative media stories.
It emerged earlier this week that five of the seven members of Amnesty International’s senior leadership team awere being made redundant after a report criticised the organisation’s “toxic” workplace culture. Oxfam has also come under fire amid allegations that staff sexually exploited female victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti last year.