Public Trust and Confidence in Charities Report
The public is becoming more discriminating about financial management in charities, according to new public opinion research commissioned by the Charity Commission. The research shows people are placing increasing importance on knowing how charities spend their money and what they achieve.
The independent survey, conducted on behalf of the Charity Commission, the regulator of charities in England and Wales, reveals that 42% of people say ‘ensuring that a reasonable proportion of a charity’s income reaches the end cause’ is the most important single factor influencing their trust.
This has changed since the last time the survey was conducted in 2008, when charities’ ability to make a difference to the causes they work for was the most important factor (35% of respondents).
Overall, the survey, which was conducted by Ipsos MORI, reveals that public trust and confidence remains high, at a mean of 6.6 out of ten. Charities are also the third most trusted group, just behind doctors (mean 7.7) and police (mean 7.1).
The survey also reveals that people are more likely to trust charities generally if they, or close friends or family members, have had experience of them.
However, people are not always aware of being beneficiaries of a charity. When asked directly, fewer than one in three (30%) say they or their close friends or family have used the services of a charity. However, when prompted with activities that charities might provide, around nine in ten (93%) say they or close friends or family have used the services of a charity.
Other key findings include:
- The proportion of people reporting high levels of trust and confidence in charities has increased by 5 percentage points (from 36% to 41%) since 2008;
- Almost all those asked (96%) agree that it is important to them that charities provide the public with information about how they spend their money;
- Almost all those asked (98%) believe the role of the Charity Commission is essential, very or fairly important.
- People who are familiar with the Charity Commission report higher public trust and confidence in charities;
- The most common reason why some charities are trusted less is ‘not knowing how their money is spent’ (35% of those who trust certain charities or types of charities less than others).
You can download the full report here.