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FAQs

  1. How much of my donation will go to people overseas?
    We take great care to make sure your donations have the biggest impact possible on helping people out of poverty. The amount we spend on fundraising and governance is low compared to many charities, enabling us to ensure that more of your money goes directly to communities overseas. For every pound we receive, we spend 90p on our projects overseas, campaigns and development education in Scotland. Only 10p is spent on fundraising.
  2. Why does SCIAF spend money on fundraising?
    Quite simply, we spend money on fundraising in order to raise more money. We try to keep this cost to a minimum by using volunteers where possible and being as effective and efficient as we can be. For every £1 we spend on fundraising, we raise £7 to help people living in poverty. If we were to stop spending money on fundraising, advertising and resources, our message would reach far fewer people and we would raise considerably less money for our life-changing work in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  3. Does campaigning really make a difference?
    Absolutely. We believe that poverty is political which means we have the power to do something about it. By taking action with SCIAF, you can help us tackle the root causes of poverty – like unfair trade rules, climate change and the lack of accountability for UK companies that operate in developing countries. Our advocacy team carries out research to identify areas where SCIAF can make the biggest impact and who we should target. We then run campaigns and carry out lobbying work behind the scenes, putting pressure on decision makers, like politicians and the heads of big business, to make choices that create a fairer world.
  4. I’ve raised some money for SCIAF, how do I send it to you?
    Thanks!  We really appreciate your support. You can donate here or send a cheque made payable to ‘SCIAF’ to: 19 Park Circus, Glasgow, G3 6BE. You can also make a donation over the phone by calling 0141 354 5555.
  5. What is SCIAF’s policy on condoms in relation to HIV and AIDS?
    The spread of HIV and AIDS has many causes and our approach includes reducing poverty, providing information about the transmission and prevention of HIV, encouraging people to get tested for the virus, reducing the stigma surrounding it and giving practical support and care to people living with HIV and AIDS and their families.

    As an official aid agency of the Catholic Church, and in respect of the Church’s teachings, we do not fund the supply, distribution or promotion of condoms. We ask that all our partners working in the area of HIV prevention provide individuals with full and accurate information about all means of HIV prevention and that this advice is scientifically correct.
  6. Do you accept donations of clothes, books and other goods for communities overseas?
    Sorry, no. Transporting clothes, blankets and other goods overseas can be difficult and expensive. Instead, we provide training in skills like tailoring and so that people can make and sell clothes and other goods locally. This enables them to earn a living and helps to boost their local economy. Following emergencies like earthquakes or floods, we send money to our Caritas partners so that they can buy the items they need in the countries where they are needed.
  7. Does SCIAF only work with Catholics?
    No. We work with people of all faiths to offer help where the need is greatest. We are inspired by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching to support people living in poverty, regardless of their religious beliefs, and to challenge the injustices which make people poor.

    You do not have to be Catholic to work for, or volunteer with, SCIAF although we do ask that staff gain a sympathetic understanding of the life, culture and structures of the Catholic Church.
  8. Can I volunteer overseas with SCIAF?
    Sorry, no. SCIAF doesn’t offer volunteering opportunities overseas. The projects we support are run by local organisations and staffed by local people. We believe that members of local communities should be trained and supported in finding their own solutions to poverty. We are always looking for volunteers to support our work here in Scotland. Visit www.sciaf.org.uk to find out more.
  9. How do you know the money that you send overseas is being well spent?
    We do not send funds to governments overseas. Instead our money goes directly to carefully chosen and well trusted local partners who are committed to managing their funds openly and efficiently. We have a close relationship with these partners and they provide us with audited accounts each year so that we can track how the money we send is being used. Our experienced programme officers regularly check up on projects, offering support and advice and visiting them at least once a year to see how things are progressing. If we are alerted to a misuse of funds – which is extremely rare – we investigate immediately. If we are not satisfied that the situation has been resolved, we stop funding the project.
  10. When I buy the SCIAF Real Gift of a goat, am I actually providing a family overseas with a goat? 
    Every penny of your gift will go directly to a project which provides your chosen gift. If we raise enough money for the activity relating to your gift with that specific project, your donation will go towards similar work in another project. This way, we can respond to what a community needs and act wherever the need is greatest.
  11. Can SCIAF link my school/parish to a school or parish overseas?
    Although we do offer schools and parishes opportunities to get closer to the communities they are supporting overseas, we can’t link you with a specific school or parish. We find that it is more efficient and effective to work with local partners who support whole communities rather than build relationships with individual schools or parishes overseas. Working in this way enables us to help a greater number of people and ensure that your donations go further.
  12. Where is SCIAF based?
    Our head office is at 19 Park Circus in Glasgow and we also share a small office in Ethiopia with our sister agencies CAFOD (England & Wales) and Trocaire (Ireland).

    People sometimes ask why our head office is based in a listed building in a prestigious part of Glasgow. We bought it from the Franciscan Sisters for a relatively modest sum. As a result, we have no annual rental costs. We moved to Park Circus from rented premises in the city centre which we were beginning to outgrow. An early comparison of running costs showed that Park Circus was cheaper than the cost of renting and running our previous, much smaller headquarters. The building is also an asset which could be released if we choose to move again.
  13. There are so many charities. Why don’t you work together?
    We do. SCIAF works closely with our sister charities in the Caritas network – particularly CAFOD (England & Wales) and Trocaire (Ireland) – sharing resources, knowledge and information to save costs where possible. We are a member of CIDSE - a network of 15 Catholic aid agencies from Europe and North America. We are also involved in a number of coalitions and consortiums which enable us to work in partnership with a wide range of charities and organisations who share a common goal or cause. Amongst others, these coalitions include Traidcraft, Will Aid, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, the Trade Justice Movement and Take One Action.