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No crisis of trust, but salaries and admin costs are main drivers of negativity toward charities

The ongoing “lurid” media and government scrutiny of charities – particularly over CEO salaries and the lobbying bill – has not led to any kind of crisis in trust in charities, the CEO of one on the UK’s leading market research firms said this week.
However, what increased negative feeling there is among the public does seem to be driven by the salaries issue, along with concern about running costs.
Speaking at the launch of the latest report by New Philanthropy Capital, Bob Duffy, managing director of IPSOS-Mori, said that the numbers of people saying they trusted charities had stayed consistently around 65-68% since 2005.
“With all these lurid media stories, we would expect it to have some sort of impact. Everyone is looking for a crisis of trust but we just don’t see it happening,” he said. “In fact the balance of opinion is more positive than negative.”
[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]16% of people thought CEOs should be paid nothing at all.[/quote]
Presenting finds from NPC’s report – Mind the Gap: What the Public Thinks About Charities – Duffy pointed out that 31 per cent of people said they had become more positive about charities over the last three years compared to the 23% who had become more negative. “That is not a bad result,” he said.

How people think charities get things wrong

The amount that charities spend on executive salaries topped the list of the things people thought charities did wrong, cited by 42% of the 1,035 respondents polled by IPSOS/Mori. And 16% of people thought CEOs should be paid nothing at all.
Other main concerns were not being transparent about how money is spent (36%), spending too much abroad (29%) and spending too much on running costs (26%).

Public concerns about charities

Public concerns about charities

Just under a third (29%) thought charities put to much pressure on people to donate – the joint third biggest complaint – while 14% agreed with the statement “you never see the benefits of your donation”.
[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]the public does not have a problem with fundraising per se[/quote]
What people think charities do wrongly

What people think charities do wrongly

When comparing the responses of the people who had become more negative about charities over the past three years with those who had become more positive, some differences began to emerge. On executive salaries, 49% of negative people thought this was something charities did wrong compared with 40% of positive people. On running costs the difference was 36% (negative), compared to 23% (positive).
But there was not such a big discrepancy when it came to feeling pressured into donating, with 32% of negative respondents and 28% of their positive counterparts believing charities apply too much pressure.
The report also records that 51% thought that fundraising was a role that charities ought to perform. NPC’s report argues its finding “suggest that the public does not have a problem with fundraising per se”.
Photo: mind the gap by gmacfadyen on


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.