Share

Survey suggests that charities are people's last resort for advice

Survey suggests that charities are people's last resort for advice
News

Survey suggests that charities are people's last resort for advice1

Governance | Jonathan Last | 3 May 2013

People rarely think to go to charities first for advice or support, suggest results from an nfpSynergy survey.

One thousand British adults were quizzed for the report Where do the public go to seek information and advice? They were asked where they would go for advice or support on financial difficulties, housing, social benefits, issues concerning elderly people and on being the victim of crime.

Visiting charity offices was the least preferred option in each selection, with using a voluntary sector organisation’s website polling second lowest.

Just 16 per cent said they would log on to a charity’s website for advice or support regarding elderly people and fewer than 10 per cent would go there for help with any of the other problems.

A mere 7 per cent claimed they would visit a charity office for advice or support with the elderly, with less than 5 per cent saying they would go in person for the other issues.

One in five people would consult a charity’s website about elderly people and just 6 per cent would go to a charity’s offices, with the other problems all ranking even lower.

Citizen’s Advice ranked highest

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau was the most popular choice for assistance, with around half heading there for financial and social benefits guidance or information, while around a quarter would visit for other reasons.

Search engines also came higher than charities as a source for information, with around a third of people across the board saying they use them first.

People 'not aware of charities’ services'

Cian Murphy, one of nfpSynergy's researchers, said it was understandable that the public is reluctant to consider going into charity offices.

“It’s more of a physical act and commitment, less so than using a computer. There are various social pressures, as well,” he told civilsociety.co.uk.

“But charities should be worried that their websites are not seen as a first port of call for information. People are obviously willing to consider digital sources, as seen with the popularity of search engines in these results, but charities don’t seem to be appearing on their radar.”

Murphy suggested that search engine optimisation could help charities to be better seen when they are searched for online, and also that people are often ignorant about the services organisations offer.

“Sometimes it’s about them just letting people know that the service is there,” he said.

“People very rarely think of charities as being there to give advice and information, yet it is sometimes one of an organisation’s core services.”

Results ‘are worrying’

Joe Saxton, nfpSynergy’s driver of ideas, described the results as “quite worrying”.

“Part of a charity’s mission is to provide support, advice and information,” he said. “Charities have unique skills, experience and experts to help people, but this is no good if people aren’t benefitting from it.

“Far from being people’s first port of call, it looks like charities could be the last.”

The full research can be viewed on nfpSynergy’s website here.

Jeremy Barker
Advice Supervisor
Scunthorpe CAB
10 May 2013

The headline and article are a bit misleading. In reality the article reveals that charities are often the first port of call.

The article highlights that Citizens Advice (I presume it really means the bureaux that are it's members) is the most popular choice for advice. It seems to escaped notice that all CABs are registered charities.

They may not be going to specialist charities but the article fails to clearly distinguish that. Sometimes it is better to go to a specialist charity (and where appropriate CABs refer people on to them) but for some issues - particularly financial difficulties and social benefits - we are widely recognised as experts.

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

RNIB chief executive criticises ‘arrogance’ of MPs who think charities must learn from private sector

21 Nov 2014

Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of RNIB, yesterday said she had a “struggle with the arrogance”...

Property boom poses risk to charities' long-term survival, survey reports

20 Nov 2014

Nearly half of charities consider property the greatest risk to their long-term survival, according to...

A quarter of charities 'ignore Commission action plans'

19 Nov 2014

Around one in four charities that the Charity Commission issued action plans to last year either partially...

Band Aid 30 raised £1m in first day

19 Nov 2014

Band Aid 30 became the fastest-selling single of 2014 when it was released yesterday, with 206,000 people...

Society lotteries deregulation could lead to less trust in charities, says NCVO

19 Nov 2014

Deregulation of society lotteries could impact public trust and confidence in charities, NCVO has told...

UK is joint-seventh overall in World Giving Index of 135 nations

18 Nov 2014

The UK and Ireland are the fourth most generous nations in terms of giving money to charity, the latest...

OSCR launches new website

20 Nov 2014

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has launched a new website which includes a new search function.

Data from controversial Samaritans app to be deleted

17 Nov 2014

Samaritans has promised that all data collected by its Twitter monitoring app will be deleted and the...

Post Office enables Children in Need donations through Twitter

11 Nov 2014

The Post Office has become the first UK organisation to allow Twitter users to donate to charity through...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<