A lack of Scotland-specific research and analysis of giving trends and fundraising practice, as well as of affordable professional development opportunities is holding back strategic development of the profession in the country, a new report from fundraising think tank Rogare reveals.


Rogare’s Critical Fundraising (Scotland) Report, launched in Edinburgh last month, found a need for more investment both by umbrella bodies and charities into research and analysis, and also highlighted the lack of affordable professional development opportunities, leading to a lack of skilled senior fundraisers across the Scottish profession and difficulty in recruiting and maintaining high standards.


The report states: “Umbrella bodies and charities themselves must invest in accessing and producing Scotland-specific research and analysis that enable learning and evidence-based decision making. Additionally, they must strive to provide a comprehensive programme of training and professional development tailored to the Scottish market and accessible to fundraisers of all sizes, stages and locations.”


Other issues identified and developed in the report include Scottish fundraising regulations, cuts in public funding, the number and size of charities in the country, and the implications of the GDPR and other data protection legislation.


The Critical Fundraising Report was researched and compiled by a task group of Rogare’s International Advisory Panel, led by Scotland-based consultant Mafe Marwick, who added: "The aim of this report is to identify and explore the main issues that affect fundraising practice in Scotland, and to offer recommendations to tackle these issues. We hope that the issues and topics developed in the report will resonate with readers, and will be a stepping stone for debate and discussion, and for fundraisers to work together in order to find solutions to the challenges identified.”


The report makes 23 recommendations, including:

- Because demand for fundraisers exceeds supply, new and better recruitment processes and induction plans must be developed, such as providing candidate packs that give greater insight into roles being advertised.

- Charities should nominate an individual or a committee to take responsibility for ensuring compliance with data protection. One of their first jobs should be to identify the lawful basis for processing activity in the GDPR, and document this.

- Collaborations must be supported by improvements in training provision across the sector and recognition that achieving long-term financial sustainability through self-generated income requires investment. Government – national and local – can nurture this through provision of training. Funders too can play a part, by permitting funds for capacity building in their grants, thereby recognising their role in helping charities’ long-term financial resilience.

- Because there is a lack of affordable professional development in Scotland, fundraisers in Scotland, at least in the medium term, will need to accept that the learning and development support for their charity will be limited. As a consequence, they will need to be proactive, to seek out opportunities and build their own personal brand.


The Critical Fundraising (Scotland) Report is the second in the series following the publication of Critical Fundraising (Ireland) Report at the Ask Direct Summer School in Dublin in August. Reports for the USA and Italy will be published in the spring of 2018 and work on a Canadian report is about to get under way. All of Rogare's Critical Fundraising Reports are ‘live’ documents that are regularly updated.


The Critical Fundraising (Scotland) Report can be downloaded here.

All Rogare’s outputs, including the Irish report, are available here.