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Charities the most trusted institution in the UK, research suggests

Melanie May | 27 June 2024 | News

A group of people reaching out and touching hands. By Mica Asato on Pexels

Charities are the most trusted institution in the UK, according to the latest Donor Pulse research from Enthuse. Three quarters (73%) of its respondents said they have moderate or high trust in charities, making them twice as trusted as the next most trusted institution; faith groups and religious institutions (36%).

Trust in charities is also significantly higher than trust in corporations (32%), government (29%), the media (28%) and political parties more broadly (20%), according to Enthuse’s survey of 2,005 members of the UK public.

Respondents also said they’re most trusting of a charity’s own channels for finding out about them, with 73% saying they trust this source. Two thirds (62%) mistrust social media for information about charities and almost half (48%) mistrust what they see, hear or read about charities in traditional media. 50% also said they had low trust in what celebrities have to say about charitable organisations. 

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Enthuse’s Donor Pulse also found that more than 4 in 5 (83%) believe that the government should be providing financial support to charities, and 43% believe this support should be increased. This is higher among Gen Z, with 55% of 18-24 year olds in support of increased funding. 

Individual giving & intention to give both rise

Enthuse also looked at giving, and found that the number of people donating is at its highest level in two years with 75% saying they had done so in the last three months. The intention to give is also at its highest level since its research began in 2020, with 78% of the public intending to give. This number is even higher amongst those who have already donated in the last three months: 90% of these people say they will give again in the next quarter. 

One in six (18%) say they have given when a charity’s actions were criticised in traditional or social media in recent months although those donating to show solidarity with a cause has dropped to 15%.

Commenting, Chester Mojay-Sinclare, Enthuse Founder and CEO, said:

“As the economy slowly improves and the number of people feeling the same or better off increases, it’s great to see the public recognising the importance of the third sector and giving to good causes. The percentage of people donating is the highest it’s been in two years and the intent to give in the coming months remains high too.

 

“For people to donate, they have to trust – so it’s brilliant to see in our research that charities are comfortably the most trusted UK institution. With a general election fast approaching, I hope whoever comes out on top listens to charities and the voices of the people they represent that need to be heard. The sector needs support and the public wants to see it.”

Cost of living

More than half (56%) said they feel either the same or better off financially than last quarter with the gap between those feeling worse off and better off is closing more rapidly. That gap currently sits at 25% which is half what it was two years ago, with 65% of 18-24 year olds saying they feel the same or better off financially. 

Food prices remain a concern with 64% saying it’s an issue, followed by gas and electricity prices at 56%, and rent or mortgage costs an issue for 35%. 

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