Combined income of Scottish charities reaches £14bn


Figures from the Scottish charity regulator OSCR show that there are almost 25,000 charities on its register, with a combined annual income of £14 billion.

The figures come from a new Sector Overview Report, which covers the period up to 31 March 2023, and uses key facts and figures from its database of charity information to present a profile of the sector’s income, expenditure, purposes, beneficiaries, activities and operations. 

More than 24,000 of the charities are only registered in Scotland, with 1,246 charities operating cross border.

Annual income figures

The report shows that more than half of charities (57%) have an annual income of £25,000 or less, with many of these – over 9,000 – having an income of no more than £5,000. 4% have an income of £1mn or more.

Staffing & trustees

Around two-thirds of charities are entirely run by volunteers, including their trustees. 209,601 people are employed as paid staff by Scottish charities.

The data also shows that there are an estimated 180,000 trustees of charities on the Scottish charity register, with charities having an average of seven.

Sector growth

The sector continues to grow, although the OSCR says the rate of increase slowed in 2021 and 2022 while the number of charities removed from the register rose. In total, 673 Scottish charities registered in 2022, along with 49 cross border charities. 648 were removed, along with 29 cross border charities.

Most of the data in the Sector Overview Report comes from charities that have used OSCR Online to submit an online annual return. Previously, the report was published every two years, but as part of a commitment by OSCR to promote and improve transparency, the Sector Overview have moved to an online platform and it will now be updated quarterly.

OSCR’s Chief Executive, Maureen Mallon, said:

“Knowing the scale and scope of the charity sector, and what issues are challenging charities in Scotland, helps inform the decision making of OSCR, governments and other stakeholders.


“The report is a great resource for anyone seeking general information about the Scottish charity sector. In time, the data will also help us understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost crisis on charities and how charities adapt. The new dynamic format of our Sector Overview Report allows us to share this vital information more frequently and automates some of our internal processes so our resources can be used in other ways.”

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