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Charities now drive moral agenda, research shows

  • Bullying, discrimination and buying the fruits of child labour: amongst activities that society adjudges most immoral
  • Cohabitation and sex before marriage: amongst least unethical activities, say public
  • “Charities working at front line of moral relevancy, tackling what public deem to be our ‘modern-day sins’”, claims Saxton

Charities and campaigners are tackling the activities society most deems unethical, whilst issues still vexing many religions have less moral relevancy - according to new data

Leading not for profit sector think tank and research consultancy nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor surveys a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain every year, asking them a range of charity-related questions, including which human activities they most consider immoral or unethical.

“Bullying” tops a wide-ranging prompted list, adjudged immoral or very immoral by 87% of people, trailed by “discriminating against people because they are different” (81%), “buying goods that have been produced using child workers” (75%) and a plethora of other activities and issues – many of them highlighted and challenged by charities and campaigners today. At the other end of the modern-day “sin spectrum”, the activities considered least immoral are “living together before marriage” (14%) and “having sex before marriage” (13%) – activities still the subject of many religious pronouncements and teachings.

Environmentalists may be pleased that those who consider “buying goods that caused a large environmental impact in their manufacture” to be in any way unethical rose from 45% to 49%, year-on-year; as did “buying goods that can’t be recycled” (up from 45% to 49%) and “buying goods that have been air-freighted into the country” (up from 16% to 19%). Road safety campaigners may be heartened that those who deem “breaking the speed limit” to be unethical increased significantly too, from 47% to 54%. And - encouragingly for fundraisers, and for charities more generally - those considering “never giving to charity” to be unethical also increased - by a hearty 9 percentage points, from 34% to 43%.

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

“This new research shows that many charities are now working at the very front line of moral relevancy, tackling issues and activities that the public deem to be most unethical – society’s ‘modern-day sins’. By contrast, many religious groups and organisations seem to lag behind. Some still seem preoccupied with issues such as pre-marital cohabitation and sex, whilst remaining relatively silent on certain other moral areas this data shows are of far greater concern to most people, and indeed many charities - such as ethical consumerism, animal experimentation and environmental matters.”

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MEDIA COMMENT: To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him direct on 07976 329 212 or joe.saxton@nfpsynergy.net; or, alternatively, contact Adrian Gillan (0774 086 7215; E: adrian@gillanmedia.com) for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy (www.nfpsynergy.net) is the UK’s only research consultancy dedicated to the charity sector and not-for-profit issues. It provides ideas, insights and information to help voluntary and community organisations thrive in an ever-changing world. Regularly harvesting the social and charity-related views of public and parliament, media and business - not to mention not for profit organisations themselves - nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool from which to extract and deliver insights.


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Charity Awareness Monitor Results Engagement Modern Sins

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