Trust in charities

11th Jul 2018 • • Charities

key findings:

  • The factors of trustworthiness: the public want charities to demonstrate good stewardship of funds, to live their values, and to demonstrate impact. Our research suggests that when charities are able to show that most of their donations directly reach the end cause, and that they are having quantifiable positive results, both trust and self-reported propensity to donate increases.

  • This shows that trust matters to donation behaviour. Moreover, many of those who feel that their trust in charities has decreased in the past two years (and this cohort has increased in number to over 4 in 10 members of the public) say they are donating less money as a result. Those who do not trust charities are far less likely to have recently made repeat donations than those who do.

  •  Overall trust and confidence in charities remains at similar levels to 2016 when the research was last carried out. In both years, scandals reported in the media involving major humanitarian charities (which are also the type of organisation the public instinctively think of when they think about ‘charities’) occurred before our polling took place, negatively impacting overall trust and confidence.

  •  Nevertheless, the sector holds up well compared with others. It is still more trusted, for instance, than private companies, banks, and politicians. It remains less trusted, however, than the average man or woman in the street.

  •  The regulator is also seen to have a highly important role by a vast majority of the public. Most think that regulation is effective and those who know at least a fair amount about the Charity Commission are more likely to trust charities.

  • The public still think the sector plays an important role in society – they simply want it to evidence the positive effect it has with their generosity. Words are not enough; the public expect trustworthy behaviour and proven impact.

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