Half of MPs and a third of charity workers against £100k salaries in charities

Half of MPs and a third of charity workers against £100k salaries in charities

4 in 5 Conservatives happy for charities to provide frontline services

  • Half of MPs (47%) think it is ‘unacceptable’ for charities to pay some staff over £100k a year, while a third (35%) are in favour
  • A survey of 480 charity staff showed 38% of them were also against it, with 47% in favour
  • 13% of MPs are happy with charities paying staff over £200k a year, with three quarters opposed (77%). 16% of charity staff were in favour, 70% against
  • Over a quarter (27%) of the general public would be confident a charity would spend a donation well if they didn’t pay anyone over £100k
  • 89% of Conservative MPs think it is ‘acceptable’ for charities to provide frontline services instead of the government, but only 56% of Labour MPs agree. Just 5% of Conservatives see it as unacceptable compared to 30% of Labour MPs
  • 43% of charity workers are in favour of more public services delivery by charities, while 46% think that charities do a better job than the government
  • Just 18% of Conservatives think a charity should pay its trustees compared to 36% of Labour MPs. Over half (51%) of the general public are against it

Charities paying their staff over £100,000 a year is ‘unacceptable’ according to half of MPs, new research shows. The work, carried out by research consultancy nfpSynergy, also shows that a third of charity sector workers are also against it, while there is division among MPs over charities and their provision of public services.

The first part of the study, a survey of 154 MPs proportional by party, found that 47% of MPs were against charities paying their staff £100,000 in salary, while 35% thought it was ‘acceptable’. When asked about salaries of £200,000, three quarters of MPs (77%) were opposed and just 13% were in favour.

As part of Third Sector’s State of the Sector survey, carried out by nfpSynergy, 480 charity sector workers were asked about their opinions on salaries. 38% said they were not comfortable with salaries over the £100,000 mark, while less than half (47%) were in favour. When the number was upped to £200,000, 70% said they were against it and just 16% remained supportive. The public made their position clear in an earlier nfpSynergy study, with 27% saying if a charity didn’t pay over £100,000 then they were confident their donation would be well spent.

The survey also saw MPs asked about charities providing frontline services. Four in five (89%) Conservatives said this was acceptable, but it was supported by just 56% of Labour MPs. Just under half (43%) of the sector workers interviewed wanted to see more delivery of public services by charities, while 46% felt that charities usually did better job than the government.

MPs were also quizzed on paid trustees, with 18% of Conservatives in favour compared to 36% of Labour MPs.

nfpSynergy’s Head of Professional Audiences, Tim Harrison, said:

“With an election less than nine months away, these findings give us an insight into the role MPs believe charities will play in the next Parliament. With a Conservative majority, we can certainly expect to see charities being offered more frontline service contracts. It is a policy that plays well with the sector and we can expect to see it in the Conservative manifesto. 

For a group that has faced extreme scrutiny over their finances, it is encouraging that 35% of MPs find it acceptable for charity CEOs to be paid over £100k. It will be interesting to see if these attitudes towards pay change if, as we expect, charities provide more and more state services and the line between the two becomes more blurred. If a charity exists purely to provide services, should their CEO’s salary differ from public sector pay scales?”

Please see the attached slides for more details.

For further comment from nfpSynergy’s Tim Harrison, please contact him directly on 020 7426 8888 or tim.harrison@nfpsynergy.net

SOURCE: nfpSynergy’s Charity Parliamentary Monitor, which regularly surveys a sample of MPs, proportional by party in the House of Commons. July 2014 wave used, nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor and Third Sector’s State of the Sector Suvery 2014.

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To interview nfpSynergy’s Tim Harrison, please contact him directly on 020 7426 8888 or tim.harrison@nfpsynergy.net. If you cannot contact him, please contact Rob White (rob.white@nfpsynergy.net) for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy is a research consultancy that aims to provide the ideas, the insights and the information to help non-profits thrive.

We have over a decade of experience working exclusively with charities, helping them develop evidence-based strategies and get the best for their beneficiaries. The organisations we work with represent all sizes and areas of work and include one in three of the top 100 fundraising charities in the UK.

We run cost effective, syndicated tracking surveys of stakeholder attitudes towards charities and non-profit organisations. The audiences we reach include the general public, young people, journalists, politicians and health professionals. We also work with charities on bespoke projects, providing quantitative, qualitative and desk research services.

In addition, we work to benefit the wider sector by creating and distributing regular free reports, presentations and research on the issues that charities face.