Prince William adjudged “charity champ” by public, but Kate Middleton yet to make her charitable mark.

  • Public see “charity support” as core royal function, saying new royal couple should focus philanthropic efforts on the young, war veterans and the homeless.
  • “In public eye, royals need charities just as charities need royals. Great opportunity for William and Kate to set charitable example in ‘Big Society’, amidst hard times,” says Saxton

Prince William is perceived by the public as being one of the hardest-working royals when it comes to supporting charities - in sharp contrast to public perception of his imminent wife, Kate Middleton - according to a major new poll out today.

Second-in-line-to-the-throne William (28%) is seen (slide 4) as the third hardest-grafting charity-supporting senior royal – trailing only his aunt, Princess Anne (46%), and father, Prince Charles (38%), in public minds; yet beating his grandmother, the Queen (23%).

By stark contrast, his wife-to-be, Kate Middleton (1%), is still very much viewed as having yet to make her mark in relation to charities.

Leading not-for-profit sector research consultancy nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor regularly surveys a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain, asking them a range of charity-related questions - including (April 2011 data) gauging how hard they think royal individuals and couples work to support charities, and which areas of need should be their prime concern.

Interestingly, taken as a couple (slide 5), William/Kate (45%) do well in terms of the public adjudging they are “doing enough for charities”, although they are still perceived as lagging behind Charles/Camilla (54%) and Queen/Philip (51%).

81% and 95% of the public, respectively, are unable to name a single charity that William or that Kate supports.

It is perhaps only fair to note that public perception might not necessarily tally with reality. Figures compiled annually by royal watcher Tim O'Donovan indicate that, for 2010 Royal Family official engagements (including non-charity), Prince Charles conducted 585, with Princess Anne on 514; the 84-year old Queen notched up 444, with 89-year old Prince Philip on 356; and Prince William only managed 73. So William is punching well above his weight, at least in public minds, given his relatively small number of engagements, and given the fact that his potential “charity time” is, naturally, somewhat reduced by his current preoccupation as a search-and-rescue pilot.

The new data also shows that the issue of charitable support amongst royals is, in fact, of considerable relevance since (slide 6) 1 in 3 (34%) people see “charity support” as a prime royal function, only trailing other areas such as representing the country at home and abroad, and “attracting tourists”. A mere 3% say “serving in the armed forces” is a main royal role - only 2% say “providing stories for the media”! 1 in 10 (10%) of the British public seem hard-pushed to say quite what the main purpose of the Royal Family is!

Moreover, cash-strapped charities and rich royals alike may be interested to note that (slide 7) the British public, at least, thinks the new royal couple should focus their main charitable attentions on children and young people (45%), veterans and the armed forces (35%) and homelessness and social welfare (27%).

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

“In this day and age, royals need to be seen to be working for charities just as much as charities need royal support. There is bound to be considerable public expectation that Kate, especially, finds her own, distinctive charitable feet as soon as the wedding and honeymoon is over - and does not have all her time taken up with royal tours, accompanying William or hiding from media. There is a real opportunity, in these straightened times, for both young royals to take a lead in any so-called Big Society, where charities are increasingly being ask to achieve more, with less – just as public need looks set to rise.”

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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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