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Matter of trust: What the public thinks of charities

Matter of trust

What does the public think about charities? What drives trust, or the lack of it? How do factors such as whether someone donates to or volunteers for a charity affect trust and confidence? This brief paper provides our initial findings from an online survey carried out in mid-October 2014 by Ipsos MORI for NPC.

Polling with Ipsos MORI (October 2014): Paper 1/4

The charity sector is not alone in facing question from the public. Indeed, from government to banking, care homes to prisons, few institutions escape the trend towards greater scrutiny. When it comes to openness, charities should not get a free pass, benefitting as they do from taxpayers’ time and money and from public funding and tax concessions.

How does the public think about charities? What drives trust, or the lack of it? How do factors such as whether someone donates to or volunteers for a charity their affect trust and confidence?

This brief paper seeks to answer some of these questions. It provides initial, top-line findings from an online survey carried out in mid-October 2014 by Ipsos MORI for NPC. This follows our Mind the gap polling back in March 2014, also with Ipsos MORI.

Key findings

  • more than 1 in 3 people have doubts about charities, however the most common score is 7/10
  • there is no one mental image of charities: the vast majority of people (67%) think mostly about large organisations when they think of charities (vs 25% who think of small organisations)
  • people are less trusting if they mostly see charities as international (27%) versus those who see charities as being national or local organisations (21%). The most mistrusting people are those who think charities get their funding from Government and business (55% give charities a low trust rating) and those who think they are political (47%)
  • there is no one public view of charities: based on the data we have segmented the population into informed enthusiasts (35% of the population), uninformed enthusiasts (26%), uninformed detractors (20%) and informed detractors (15%)
  • the more people know charities, the more they tend to trust them: 69% of people who say they know ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ about charities have high or medium trust in them
  • a substantial chunk of the public, 20%, say they know little or nothing about charities and have little trust in them.

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