2 in 3 people think rebrands and London offices are a waste of charities’ money

2 in 3 people think rebrands and London offices are a waste of charities’ money


Donors are reassured when no one earns over £50,000 or travels on first class rail

  • 69% of people think London-based offices and rebrands are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ wasteful (slide 2)
  • Over a third of people think lobbying government or other organisations is ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ worthwhile (slide 2)
  • 54% feel the same way about advertising, while 61% say that about developing a website (slide 2)
  • The best way for charities to make people feel confident they’ll spend a donation well is to not allow staff to travel first class on expenses according to 52% (slide 3)
  • Half of people would feel confident if the organisation was run mostly by volunteers (50%), no one earned more than £50,000 a year (47%) and no one got a bonus (46%) (slide 3)
  • One in three said they’d feel confident if a charity had no offices in London, while 23% would if staff paid for their own Christmas party. One in ten would if staff worked a day a month for free (slide 3)

Two thirds of people think that charities that spend money on rebrands or London offices are wasting donations, new research shows. The study, published by research consultancy nfpSynergy, also shows that over half of people feel confident that a charity spends well if they veto first class travel for staff.

The nationally representative poll of 1,000 adults, published by research consultancy nfpSynergy, shows that 69% of people feel London-based offices for charities are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ wasteful, with just 8% saying they were worthwhile. Rebranding provokes the same sentiment for 69% of people, with just 9% seeing their worth.

More positively, over half of people deem advertising worthy of spending money on and 61% feel the same about developing a website. Just under half think it’s worthwhile for charities to create magazines to update donors on their work, while 39% see the value of spending donations on lobbying, although that figure is down 19% on last year.

The poll also asked people to name ways a charity could make them feel confident they’d spend a donation well. Around half said no staff earning over £50,000 a year or travelling on first class travel would have that effect, while exactly half said they’d feel confident in a charity mostly run by volunteers.

One in four were reassured by staff paying for their own Christmas party, while one in ten opted for staff working for free one day a month.

nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said:

“Our research shows how important it is for charities to manage the public’s perception of waste and frugality. So while nobody travelling first class on expenses might save relatively small amounts of money, it is symbolic of a frugal charity. The public want to feel that the charities they support are being frugal and using their money wisely. Perception is reality for many donors and members of the public.

This research also emphasises how far apart the public and charities are on paying staff. Many members of the public don’t like charities paying staff £50,000 a year, let alone £100,000. Half of the public think that a charity being run entirely run by volunteers would mean their donation was well spent. The sector has a long way to go in getting the message across about how modern charities work.”

Please see the attached slides for more details.