Having their say

What the public likes and dislikes about charities

Polling with Ipsos MORI (October 2014): Paper 3/4

In October 2014, Ipsos MORI conducted an online survey on our behalf, with a representative sample of more than 1,000 adults across Great Britain. The headline findings from this polling are reported in two papers—Matter of trust (October 2014), which summarises the top lines from the poll, and Charities, voters & trust (December 2014), which explores whether public perceptions of charities can be segmented along party political lines.

In this third paper we examine the results in more detail, looking at the public’s attitudes to perceived political campaigning by charities, the pay of senior staff, and transparency in how charities conduct their work, and how this affects levels of trust. 

Key findings in Having their say include:

  • The majority of Conservative supporters (55%) and substantial majority of UKIP supporters (67%) agreed that charities ‘should just concentrate on helping people in need, rather than campaigning to change society as a whole’. Just 21% of Conservatives and 16% of UKIP-ers disagreed. Opinion is much more evenly split for Labour supports (32% agreed and 38% disagreed) and Lib Dem voters (41% agreed and 34% disagreed).

  • The preference for charities helping people over campaigning is also stronger among men than women (52% to 42%), older people (59% of those aged 55-75), and those on the lowest incomes (53%).

  • While 22% of all respondents agreed that charity bosses ‘should be paid as much as people who run similar size organisations in the public and private sectors’,  43% disagreed—a gap of 21 percentage points. One in five strongly disagreed. Lib Dem supporters are the most likely to feel that charity bosses should be paid the same (35% compared to the average of 22%).

  • Those with the lowest overall trust in charities are also the most likely to be concerned about the way charities spend their money. 40% of those who rate charities five or less out of ten for trust cite charity spending issues as a concern, compared with 21% of those of have high trust in charities.

Our paper goes into much more detail on these issues, also providing answers to unprompted questions where respondents were invited to write whatever they liked. As with the previous papers in this series, we hope our findings will provide an important starting point for charities looking to address concerns and strengthen trust.

Read more

  • See our earlier papers based on the same polling, Matter of trust and Charities, voters & trust, and the final in this series, Show and tell which takes a closer look at how charities are perceived to use evidence
  • Continue to follow the discussion on Twitter with #Matteroftrust