The Charity Commission has published a report which looks at the public’s views on the charity sector and it shows that the trust in charities is rising. A few years ago scandal hit the sector with abuse being found in Oxfam in Haiti and poor behaviour in Kids Company and Age UK and the faith in charities fell from a high of high in 2012 and 2014 of 6.7 (out of 10) to a low of 5.5 in 2018.
The score now stands at 6.4 and increase of 0.2 from last year and as memories fade of scandal we can hope to see this continue. The report believes that Covid has not really played that much, if anything, in increasing the trust and perhaps it is too early to calculate.
The report is based on 4,037 responses from an internet survey and qualitative data from 20 interviews at 30 minutes each. It is therefore limited and when we talk about charities people in the street will only think of the extremely large ones who appear on television, radio and so on: Oxfam, Red Cross, Cancer UK and so on. That these make up only 4% in terms of numbers of registered charities and the not-for-profit sector includes many constituted groups, CICs and so on. It is unfortunate that those who are not so large pay the price of the failure of the behemoths of the sector.
In relative terms we compare well, with doctors and police being higher with scores of 7.7 and 6.5 respectively. MPs have a score of 4, private companies of 5.3 and local councils 5.4. That shouldn’t make us complacent I feel it is useful to gain a certain perspective on how we are regarded.
As can be expected, part of the report makes (or tries to) make the point of how important the CC is. Like everyone else the austerity cuts have affected them and they need to show their value. But as only 54% of people have heard of them, they need to do more work. Again, the study was from the general public and it would be interesting to see what the not-for-profit sector, and especially the smaller members, think about the CC.
One last point that struck me was what information that people used to decide whether to donate or not. 69% said opinions of friends and family, 63% said the website of the organization and 60% from media such as TV, radio, newspapers and so on. To me this stresses that those of us, and remember that is most of us, who cannot afford to pay for advertising in the media have to make the best of how we present ourselves: make sure our website is attractive and informative, find ways to spread the word that we can be heard and seen – even if it just encouraging everyone involved to talk about it.
If you would like to download the report then click here to go to the government website.