Four in ten Scottish charities 'think independence would hurt funding'

Potential issues with UK-wide trusts and foundations must be addressed quickly, says Gregor McNie of the Institute of Fundraising Scotland

Gregor McNie
Gregor McNie

More than four in 10 charities in Scotland think that independence for the country would have a negative effect on their funding from UK-wide trusts and foundations, research by the Institute of Fundraising Scotland suggests.

The institute carried out telephone interviews with 135 of its members in Scotland, with total voluntary income totalling £581m, about the potential impact on fundraising of a ‘yes’ vote in the independence referendum in September 2014.

A report on the findings published today, called Scottish Independence and Fundraising, says 41 per cent of respondents thought there would be a negative effect on funding from UK-wide trusts and foundations.

Two of the charities that responded said that some major UK trusts and foundations were already telling them not to apply for funding until after the referendum.

The report says that 74 per cent of respondents were able to identify disadvantages to fundraising; 56 per cent could indentify advantages.  

Forty-six per cent of the charities surveyed said they could not think of any benefits to independence.

Of those that could see an advantage, 16 per cent said it would create a stronger Scottish brand in general and those charities that were able to maximise their Scottish identity would be the most successful.

Thirty-five per cent of those polled thought Scottish independence would affect the overall income of their charities either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ negatively.

Cross-border charities were more likely to have negative views about the impacts of independence, the report says.

Forty-four per cent of those polled said they thought the Scottish sector’s overall voluntary income would fall if there was a ‘yes’ vote for independence. Thirty-six per cent said they did not know.

Gregor McNie, manager of IoF Scotland, said the institute was seeking to address the issue with trusts quickly. He said the institute would be looking at how widespread were the concerns about funding from UK-wide trusts and could take lobbying or representative action in response.

"A large degree of uncertainty about impacts underpinned the research," he said. "That said, the biggest portion of organisations we spoke to said that independence would negatively affect their charity’s income, with particular concerns about future funding from UK-wide trusts and companies. But views about impacts on community and events fundraising and statutory income were more positive than negative."

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