Show and tell: Charities, polling & evidence of doing good

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

This is the fourth and final NPC paper in a series based on polling into public attitudes towards charities. The first three—Matter of trust (October 2014), Charities, voters & trust (December 2014), and Having their say (January 2015)—each looked at how the public views charities, and the political and social factors with which these opinions are linked. These papers identified a number of trends in the public perception of charities: that larger, more campaign-oriented charities encounter more mistrust; that UKIP supporters are substantially less trusting in charities than other voters; and that ‘chugging’, while an irritant to many, does not seem to be associated with the trust people place in charities as a whole.

Show and tell looks at two further aspects:

  • How do the public think charities work, and specifically how are charities perceived to use evidence?
  • How much does the public care about charities using evidence, and how does this motivate decisions to trust or donate to charity?

Our findings contains important lessons for charities and donors alike. While people still largely think of charities as ‘values-led’, the polling suggests that basing decisions more on evidence of what works—and making these decisions public—appeals to donors. Equally, the more people think charities base their choices on evidence, the more trusting they also seem to be of charities as a whole. In other words, when it comes to trust, good evidence pays off.

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