What exactly are charities trusted to do?


What exactly are charities trusted to do?

For some time the sector has been keen to understand levels of trust and confidence in charities. At nfpSynergy we have been measuring levels of trust in charities for over a decade and we now research trust in charities twice a year.

However it’s clear that trust in charities is very volatile and in itself is not very meaningful. So we have started a programme to try and understand what charities are trusted to do, and how they are trusted compared to other sectors in areas such as policy. This is the first report of this new strand of research.

The research set out in this update was carried out online with 1000 members of the public representative by age gender and social class. The research was carried out in February of this year, and in some cases July 2016. The footers of each chart should make clear when the research was carried out.

  • Charities are seen as an ‘accurate’ source of information, coming second after only ‘family and friends’ out of a list of ten sources (slides 4 and 5). 65% of the public trusted them a great deal or quite a lot.
  • Charities are also seen as an ‘unbiased and impartial’ source of trusted information, again coming second after ‘family and friends’ (slides 6 and 7). 53% of the public trusted them a great deal or quite a lot.
  • When the public were asked who were trusted sources of commentary on UK policy, people who run charities were in the top five on the list after healthcare professionals, scientists, and academics and just above economists. British politicians were fourth from bottom. Charities were trusted a great deal or quite a lot by 42% of the public, whereas for politicians the figure was just 19%. (slide 9)
  • The figure of 42% is a considerable increase from 2016 when it was 31%.During the same period, big business has dropped from 26% to 21% as a trusted source of policy commentary (slides 10 and 11)
  • Charities are trusted to have a positive impact on society (a great deal or quite a lot) by 64% of the public. Charities are less trusted to use personal data wisely at only 53% (chart 13).
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