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Prove achievements to gain support in post-truth era says Pro Bono Economics report

Prove achievements to gain support in post-truth era says Pro Bono Economics report

In the ‘post-truth era’, charities need to be able to prove their achievements to gain and donations, a survey from Pro Bono Economics has found. 

Conducted by FTI Consulting for Pro Bono Economics, the survey examined perceptions of charities and the experts who advise them. The findings suggest that charities could attract more donations through clear communication of the impact they are achieving for the benefit of society.

81% of the UK public would prioritise donations to charities that can prove their economic impact; 82% say that charities need expert help in gaining an understanding of their impact and how to improve it, and 88% agreed that charities would attract more donations by proving the impact they are having on society.

In fact, three quarters (73%) of the UK public trust experts if they are straight-talking, and consider them more credible than other figures of authority such as the UK Government (73% vs. 26%) and media (73% vs. 24%) and businesses (73% vs. 33%).

Potential donors are also looking for easy to understand, jargon-free rationales and explanations, with more than half (55%) saying they don’t trust experts they don’t understand, while 85% think that experts need to improve their communication of basic concepts.

Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist and a co-founder of Pro Bono Economics, said:

“Charities are not immune to the post-truth virus, but as this survey shows, they have a real opportunity to turn data to their advantage. Back in February 2016 at Pro Bono Economics’ annual lecture, Tim Harford, the FT’s Undercover Economist, spoke on the theme of ‘good causes and bad statistics’. He highlighted that charities need to ensure that data is relevant and valid when they use it to support campaigns. In an age of distorted information and mistrust, strong, accurate data can make a transformative difference. The charity sector can help challenge the post-truth culture by making well-considered use of data to demonstrate its contribution to society.”

The survey was commissioned for a lunchtime event taking place this Friday (7th July) at FTI Consulting’s offices in the City of London on Building Trust in a Post-Truth Era, attended by Haldane.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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