Finding information on charity expenditure can take more than three times as long as making a donation or getting details of their services, a new report suggests. ‘Searching for Answers’, published by research consultancy nfpSynergy, also shows that success and impact stories were easy to find and transparency levels do not seem to be affected by a charity’s size.
The report is the result of searching 50 different charity websites for 15 pieces of information the public might want, including admin costs, trustee expenses, how to make a donation and the salary of the CEO.
It shows that more controversial information like admin costs, trustee expenses and CEO salaries usually took more than three minutes to track down and were described as being ‘in a PDF and difficult to find’.
The websites consulted were much more geared towards displaying the positive or neutral elements of a charity’s work. Finding out how to make a donation almost always took less than thirty seconds, as did locating nearby services. The same can be said of the charity’s success stories, such as the type of impact their work had and case studies of their beneficiaries.
The report includes some examples of best practice and goes on to make seven key recommendations to improve transparency. These include accessible graphs, interesting infographics and a prominent ‘key facts’ button to instantly provide people with the information they’re looking for.
nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said:
“Since the media storm surrounding CEO salaries, the word ‘transparency’ has been very much in vogue, but this report shows that the claims aren’t really matching up to reality. It would be a brave charity that stuck its neck out as the first to shout about this information, but surely it’s time for the sector as a whole to try. People don’t really understand how charities work and this is a missed opportunity to innovate and help them become better informed.”
Please see the attached full report for further details.
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