Scottish independence would 'raise strategic questions for fundraising'

Study by nfpSynergy finds that almost half of English and Welsh public would be less likely to give to charities that operated only in an independent Scotland

Nearly half of the English and Welsh public say they would be less likely to give to a charity that worked only in Scotland if it were to become an independent nation, research by nfpSynergy suggests.

The consultancy surveyed just over 1,000 people, including 927 in England and Wales, in November. Of those in England and Wales, 48 per cent said they would be less likely to give to a charity that worked only in an independent Scotland. Just over a third, 34 per cent, said it would make no difference to them.

Twenty-five per cent of respondents from England and Wales said they would be less likely to give to a charity that worked in Scotland as well as the rest of the UK if independence was achieved. But 56 per cent said it would make no difference.

The Scottish government intends to hold a referendum on the issue of independence from the UK in autumn next year.

Of the 88 people in Scotland who were surveyed, 14 per cent said they were less likely to give to a charity that worked in both Scotland and the UK in the event of independence, although 63 per cent said it made no difference. Thirty-two per cent said they would be more likely to donate to a charity working only in Scotland.

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said: "If independence comes about, the idea of UK-wide charities including Scotland in their national fundraising plans will become as odd as including Belgium.

"Charities will have to think about how this will affect them and plan accordingly, or they could end up being left behind if Scotland votes ‘yes’.

"After devolution, many charities had to change the way they operate, but those changes focused mainly on media and parliamentary work. This research shows that independence would be a whole new ball game, and it raises all manner of strategic questions in the competitive world of fundraising." 

A recent report by the Carnegie Trust, A Charitable Concern? How Charities in Scotland are Preparing for the Potential for Constitutional Change, said that many charities and their trustees had not yet committed much time and energy to the implications of constitutional change.

It concluded that organisations should begin to formally explore the implications of Scottish independence.

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