New research shows that MPs & public want tighter regulation of charity fundraising

  • Two thirds of MPs think that we need tighter regulation of charity fundraising
  • Conservative MPs are particularly unimpressed with how the sector has responded to recent media coverage and are less likely to support charity campaigns in parliament
  • 71% of the general public think that tighter regulation is needed even if it means that charities raise less money

MPs across all parties want to see tighter regulation of charity fundraising in response to last summer’s media coverage – new research shows. Two thirds of MPs think that we need tighter regulation, and half think that this is necessary even if it means that charities raise less money.

The poll of 150 MPs1, from research consultancy nfpSynergy, shows that:

  • 63% of MPs agree with the statement “I think we need tighter regulation of charity fundraising” (Slide 1)
  • 49% agree with the statement “I think we need tighter regulation of charity fundraising, even if it means charities raise less money” (Slide 1)
  • Two-thirds of MPs (62%) also agreed that “Parliament should be doing more to scrutinise charities and their activities” (Slide 1)

The research also shows that MPs’ broader perceptions of charities have been affected by last summer’s negative media coverage. 43% of MPs overall find it harder to trust charities as a result of recent media stories, and 26% of MPs would be less likely to support charity campaigns in parliament.

Conservative MPs were particularly supportive of new regulation – 69% agreed that tighter regulation is needed, and over half (55%) support this even if charities raise less money as a result. Similarly, two-thirds (66%) find it harder to trust charities as a result of recent media coverage, and 41% would be less likely to support charity campaigns in parliament. Interestingly, SNP MPs proved particularly keen to see charities held to account, with 73% agreeing that Parliament should be doing more to scrutinise charities.

These findings mirror the sentiment of the general public. According to nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor2, 71% agree that we need tighter regulation of charity fundraising even if it means charities raise less money, indicating that such measures would have considerable support from all audiences.

  • As a result of recent media coverage, 43% of MPs find it harder to trust charities, and 26% would be less likely to support charity campaigns in Parliament (Slide 1)
  • 69% of Conservative MPs think we need tighter regulation of charity fundraising, and 55% agree that we need it even if it means charities raise less money (Slide 2)
  • As a result of recent media coverage, 66% of Conservative MPs find it harder to trust charities and 41% would be less likely to support charity campaigns in Parliament (Slide 3)
  • 73% of SNP MPs agree that Parliament should be doing more to scrutinise charities (Slide 3)
  • 71% of the general public agree that we need tighter regulation of charity fundraising even if it means charities raise less money (Slide 4)

nfpSynergy’s Director of Tracking Research, Tim Harrison, said:

“It’s worrying to see that recent media coverage of fundraising scandals has had such a negative impact on how MPs see charities. Public trust in charities has fallen this year, and sadly we have only ourselves to blame. It’s now clear that MPs from all parties are keen to respond to this by backing a crackdown on invasive fundraising practices.    

Charities looking to campaign in Parliament must show that they are transparent, responsible and well-run if they are to earn back the trust of MPs. As for charity fundraising teams, it’s time to accept that new regulation is on its way and prepare to phase out any practices that the public find particularly objectionable.”

Please see the attached slides for more details.

For further comment from nfpSynergy’s Tim Harrison, please contact him directly on 02074 268 874 or timothy.harrison@nfpsynergy.net

SOURCES:

1 nfpSynergy’s Charity Parliamentary Monitor, which regularly surveys a representative sample of 150 MPs, asking them a range of charity-related questions. Data was used from the October 2015 wave. Fieldwork by ComRes.

2 nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor, which regularly surveys a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 16+, asking them a range of charity-related questions. Data was used from the October 2015 Q4 wave. Fieldwork by Research Now.

 

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MEDIA COMMENT:

To interview nfpSynergy’s Tim Harrison about these findings, please contact him directly on 02074 268 874 or timothy.harrison@nfpsynergy.net. If you cannot contact Tim, please contact Anna Chistyakova (02074 268 868; E: anna.chistyakova@nfpsynergy.net) for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy (www.nfpsynergy.net) 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.

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MPs' reactions to Summer 2015 fundraising media coverage - slides

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