Scottish charities 'feeling the pinch' from funding cuts, says SCVO poll

20 Feb 2019 News

Anna Fowlie

Two-thirds of charity staff in Scotland expect their organisations to change their funding strategies over the next twelve months, according to data released by SCVO.

The Scottish umbrella body has today published the findings from its Third Sector Forecast 2019 which suggests charities are bracing themselves to deal with growing demand for services and insecure funding.

Three-quarters of respondents to an SCVO survey of 300 charity workers said they expected the financial situation for the charity sector as a whole to deteriorate during the next twelve months.

The survey was conducted at the end of 2018, found that 82 per cent were concerned about the impact of further funding cuts. 81 per cent expect demand for their services to grow in 2019, a significant increase on the 72 per cent who felt the same way in 2017. 

Confident about the future

Nonetheless, nearly two-thirds also felt confident about the future of the charities they work for.

In order to cope with an uncertain future, 73 per cent think their organisation will collaborate more with others in the sector and 78 per cent expect to see charities developing new projects and services. 66 per cent believe charities will pursue new funding strategies.

Two in five respondents said they thought charities would look beyond traditional fundraising revenues and invest more in trading and enterprise, as a way to protect charities’ financial security.

'Feeling the pinch'

Michelle Carruthers MBE, the chief executive of Food Train, which helps support older people in a dozen towns and cities across southern Scotland, agreed that many charities like hers are “feeling the pinch.”

“It is certainly a very difficult time at the moment,” Carruthers said. “There is such a squeeze on funding from the public sector. We are often being asked to look at a cut of 10 to 20 per cent from a budget that is already severely reduced.
“We are having to get out there more and more to ask the public for support and donations, and at the same time competition for funding from trusts and foundations is higher than ever, and their criteria is getting tighter every year.”
She added that Food Train continues to see “significant increases” in demand for its services, mainly from the public sector. “The pressure from them to us is very significant.”
“But the message that we are getting is that the cuts are meaning the statutory things are now only being funded. The things that are good for people, that can help them live well, are being cut despite all the benefits of preventative services.”

The survey results have been released to coincide with SCVO’s annual gathering, which is taking place today and tomorrow in Glasgow.

Anna Fowlie, the chief executive of SCVO, said: “We are calling on Scottish communities to take action to champion their local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups.

“Resilient charities still feel optimistic and are willing to innovate, but they cannot overcome the challenges they face alone. Donate, volunteer, write to your local councillor or MSP if a charity you know is struggling – please get involved and show your support however you can."

Civil Society Media is running its next one-day training course for trustees in Scotland in May. Find out more here.  



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