Public happier for foreign businesses, foreign governments, churches - even royals – to donate to political parties than for UK charities to do so

  • “Depth of public resistance to charities giving to political parties seems profound and unequivocal,” says nfpSynergy’s Saxton
  • The British public are happier (slide 2) for foreign businesses (24%), foreign governments (15%), churches and religious organisations (15%) – and even the royal family (13% - 7% saying ‘probably’, 6% ‘definitely’) - to give money to support UK political parties than for UK charities (13% - 10% say ‘probably’, 3% ‘definitely’) to so do, according to new data out today

‘Charities’ rank lowest out of a range of prompted options, demonstrating the lack of public appetite for overturning the current legal ban on such donations.

Leading not-for-profit sector research consultancy nfpSynergy asked a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain what they thought about the issue.

Older people and recent donors (slide 3) seem most against charities giving to political parties. Half (49% - slide 4) the general public are either uncertain or wrong as to whether or not the practice is permissible.

The findings are in line with earlier (May/June 2010) nfpSynergy research amongst politicians themselves which shows (slides 5-7) that MPs are also broadly staunchly against charities supporting political parties, although Labour MPs appear least resistant to the idea.

nfpSynergy Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, comments:

“It is perhaps slightly surprising that a quarter of the British public seem content for foreign businesses to give money to our political parties, when scarce an eighth think our own charities should be able to so do. Even the royal family gets more public backing for making political donations than British charities! The depth of public resistance to charities giving to political parties appears profound and unequivocal.

It could actually be argued that, just like businesses generally - which both public and parliament seem happy enough to see putting their money where their political hearts and minds are - charities also operate within society, and thus should rightly seek to influence the political environment for the good of their cause; and thus be allowed, by law, to advance the progress of preferred relevant party policy via transparent financial backing. Charities are, after all, increasingly expected to deliver government services and compete with businesses to so-do.

However, whatever the potential logic of treating charities in the same way as businesses, it is absolutely clear that there is currently no public or parliamentary appetite for this at all.”“It is perhaps slightly surprising that a quarter of the British public seem content for foreign businesses to give money to our political parties, when scarce an eighth think our own charities should be able to so do. Even the royal family gets more public backing for making political donations than British charities! The depth of public resistance to charities giving to political parties appears profound and unequivocal.

It could actually be argued that, just like businesses generally - which both public and parliament seem happy enough to see putting their money where their political hearts and minds are - charities also operate within society, and thus should rightly seek to influence the political environment for the good of their cause; and thus be allowed, by law, to advance the progress of preferred relevant party policy via transparent financial backing. Charities are, after all, increasingly expected to deliver government services and compete with businesses to so-do.

However, whatever the potential logic of treating charities in the same way as businesses, it is absolutely clear that there is currently no public or parliamentary appetite for this at all.”

-end-

 

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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