Trust in charities bounces back whilst faith in banks wilts

  • Two thirds (65%) of British adults claim they trust charities, according to latest figures (Nov 2008)
  • This 23 percentage point rise since July 2007 marks the largest increase in trust in any kind of public institution
  • Banks show nine percentage point slump in public confidence over the same period
  • “Public and voluntary sectors appear trustworthy compared with failing private sector, epitomised by propped-up banks,” touts Saxton
  • “Happily, despite downturn, public probably trusts a charity with its money before a bank”, exhorts Saxton

Public trust in charities jumped a sizable 23 percentage points (from 42% to 65%) between a July 2007 low-point and Nov 2008, the biggest “bounce-back” of any type of major British public body or institution - according to latest figures released today (see attached summary slides).

Leading not for profit sector think tank and research consultancy’s nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor surveys a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain every year, asking which British institutions they trust most. To double-check these latest findings, nfpSynergy asked this question in Nov 2008, as well as July 2008 – just to confirm the trend.

The new figures show charities (65%) rise from 6th to 4th place in the rankings since a July 2007 nadir - enjoying the largest (23%) hike, since that low-point, of all major public institutions suggested in the survey – though still lagging behind Armed Forces (76%), NHS (70%), and Schools (67%) in terms of public confidence. Charities are now trailed by Scouts & Guides (63%), Police (62%) and Royal Mail (52%).

Whilst most public bodies and institutions, even the Government, have enjoyed an overall gain in public confidence since July 2007, trust in the banks plummeted from 26% in July 2007 to 17% in Nov 2008. 

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

“These latest figures (Nov 2008) should encourage a charity sector facing obvious challenges in the economic downturn. Two thirds (65%) of British adults now claim they trust our charities. Back in July 2007, only two in five said they did. No other sort of public institution has enjoyed a greater boost in public confidence over this period, despite a general trend upwards across nearly all public institutions – a trend doubtless partly due to the public and voluntary sectors appearing distinctly trustworthy compared with a failing private sector, as epitomised by collapsed or propped-up banks. Indeed, banks were one of the few British institutions to suffer a loss in public confidence since July 2007, slumping nine percentage points by November 2008. Happily, despite the economic downturn, the public might just trust a charity with its money before a bank!”

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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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