The number of new charities being registered in Scotland has dropped by more than a third over the past three years.
While 1,730 charities registered with the Inland Revenue in 2001, only 1,110 assumed charitable status in the past year - a decline of 36 per cent.
The figures, from the new Scottish voluntary sector almanac, were published this week at the Gathering - Scotland's first voluntary sector fair organised by umbrella group the SCVO. The figures are in complete contrast with England and Wales, where the number of new charities rose from 5,623 in 2001 to 6,143 last year.
"We need a strategy to accelerate its birth rate if the voluntary sector is going to meet increasing demand to provide services to the public," said Martin Sime, SCVO chief executive.
The organisation believes that unnecessary bureaucracy or under-funding at the Inland Revenue could be responsible for the decline in numbers.