National Third Sector Impact Survey

Over the past two months, the Third Sector Interface Network Scotland have been carrying out a National Survey to gauge a greater understanding of how charities, third sector organisations, community groups, social enterprises, and individuals have been impacted by coronavirus. This will allow the Third Sector Interfaces (TSI) in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas to understand the support that the sector needs as lockdown eases and communities attempt to rebuild and renew.

A total of 1184 organisations took part from community groups to national level organisations. From the organisations that took part, 25% of participants self-defined as community groups, 61% as voluntary organisations and 14% as social enterprises.

The survey identifies some important key findings for the third sector such as highlighting the negative impact that the reduction in income from fundraising has had in the past few months on both large and small organisations alike, with half these organisations reporting a loss of income. Another financial implication identified will be the cessation of the Job Retention Scheme with 58% of social enterprises and 39% of voluntary organisations reporting that they had furloughed staff and required support to avoid job losses going forward.

Social Enterprises have been badly hit with 81% experiencing a reduction in income from trading and 86% expecting their financial position to worsen. Without urgent financial support, many fear they will simply not recover.

The survey highlights the impact coronavirus has had on mental health and organisations are concerned now and for the future. 9 out of 10 organisations are concerned in particular about the effects of social distancing and shielding on mental health.

However, the positive news is that many organisations have managed to adapt or modify their services in the wake of the pandemic with 50% of organisations changing their services to support their communities or services users and 9% of social enterprises have started online trading during this time. It is also clear that communities have flourished and risen to the challenge of supporting each other. A large majority report that people are looking out for each other and that organisations are collaborating more to achieve results.

Natalie Masterson, Chief Officer, Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise said “Reflecting on the result of the Third Sector Impact Survey its clear to see that the effects of coronavirus on our sector have been drastic and far reaching, but it is also true to say that without this sector the support and positive community impacts that we have seen would not have been to the level that we have experienced over the past few months. The third sector played a key role in fighting the pandemic, and will continue to play a key role as our communities navigate out of lockdown and start to rebuild, therefore it’s crucial that the sector also receives the support it needs in order to continue this vital work.”

You can access the full report here.

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