research and consultancy for charities


Trust in charities up for third year running

16 July 2013 Press Release

Charities still fourth most trusted UK insitution

Scouts and Guides now second behind Armed Forces

Charities need to capitalise on their high levels of trust. It’s time the sector abandoned its laissez-faire approach and started tackling some issues head on.                            Joe Saxton, Driver of Ideas at nfpSynergy
  • Public trust in charities has increased for the third year running. 66% of people now trust charities ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal’ compared to 64% last year (slide 4)
  • Half of people (50%) said they trusted charities because they ‘know the charity follows high standards in their fundraising’ (slide 5), although 44% had never even heard of the Fundraising Standards Board (slide 2)
  • Charities are still the 4th most trusted UK institution. The Armed Forces remain top on 78%, but the Scouts and Guides are now second with 67% (slide 2)
  • Political parties are still bottom on 8% trust levels, with 57% trusting them very little (slide 2)
  • The BBC has fallen four places to 9th, dropping to 55% from 64% of respondents trusting in it ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal’ (slides 2 and 3)
  • The reasons for trusting charities have remained largely the same, with celebrity influence still only making 3% trust a charity (slide 5)

Trust in charities has increased for the third successive year, new research suggests. Two thirds of people trust them, making them the fourth most trusted institution in Britain behind the Armed Forces, Scouts and Guides and the NHS.

The poll of 1000 people, carried out by research consultancy nfpSynergy, shows that 66% of people now trust charities ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal, an increase of 2% on last year and the highest figure for the sector since 2010. The Scouts and Guides have become the second most trusted British institution, overtaking the NHS, despite a 2% drop. The Armed Forces remain the most trusted and have topped the poll since it began in 2003.

Half of respondents said their reason for trusting charities was because they believe that they ‘follow high standards in their fundraising,’ but just 19% trust the Fundraising Standards Board and nearly half said they had never heard of it. Over a third of people said they would trust a charity they or friends and family had had personal contact with, while being local or established a long time ago is a sign of reliability for one in three people.

The nationally representative survey also shows a 9% drop in trust for BBC in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, meaning the organisation falls four places to ninth. Political parties remain the least trusted in the list on 8%, with more than half of people saying they trust them ‘very little’.


nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said:

"Two thirds of people trust charities and it’s increasing year-on-year. This is great news because trust is so important, but we don’t know why it goes up or down. Until the sector does a lot more to manage public trust, we can feel neither complacent nor content.

Charities need to capitalise on their high levels of trust. They should communicate their impact better and address key public concerns like CEO salaries and overhead costs. It’s time the sector abandoned its laissez-faire approach and started tackling some issues head on."

Please see the attached slides for more details.

For further comment from nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton, please contact him directly on07976 329 212 or

SOURCE: nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor, which regularly surveys a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain, asking them a range of charity-related questions. Data was used from September 2006, July 2007, July 2008, November 2008, July 2009, January 2011, July 2011, May 2012, March 2013 and May 2013 Charity Awareness Monitors.

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To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him directly on If you cannot contact Joe, please contact Rob White on for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy ( is a research consultancy dedicated to the not-for-profit sector. They aim to provide the ideas, the insights and the information to help non-profits thrive. They provide a unique insight into the social and charity-related views of everyone from public and parliament to media and business, not to mention not-for-profit organisations themselves. nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool and shares this with the non-profit sector, through both paid work and regular free reports and seminars.