17 July 2018

Charity Commission Research Findings Published

The charity commission has just published its latest research on public trust and confidence.

The charity commission has just published its latest research on public trust and confidence,  noting some key messages which many charities will find of interest. The background is that public trust has plateaued since 2016 and remains at 5.5 out of 10 in England and Wales.  Whilst this is not our primary constituency, and charities in Scotland enjoy consistently higher ratings, the messages are likely to resonate and many Scottish charities will find them of interest. 

The research shows that the public expects charities to be accountable, by showing:

  • their impacts: what they have achieved in relation to the mission;
  • good stewardship: how they have managed their resources; and
  • that their organisational cultures and behaviours support their charitable purposes.

Researchers point out the controversies surrounding Age UK, Kid’s company, and most recently Oxfam, which may have had a detrimental effect on the public’s view:  45% of poll respondents say their trust and confidence in charities has fallen in the past two years.

The report identified the key drivers of trust in charities were:

  • transparency about where money goes;
  • being true to your values;
  • efficiency in use of resources;
  • well governed and well managed; and
  • able to demonstrate making a positive difference

These matter because trust matters to donor behaviours:  those whose trust has fallen have also reduced their donations, and those who do not trust charities are far less likely to have made a recent repeat donation.  Given the importance to fundraising charities of engaging donors for long term relationships, this reduces a key fundraising efficiency ratio. 

The research was accompanied by a statement from Baroness Stowell, chair of the Charity Commission, who stated that the solution was not to "create more procedures or to tick boxes” but was centred on improvements in attitude, ethos and culture.

The full report 'Trust in Charities 2018' is available here.

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