97% of trustees are confident in their role, finds poll for the Charity Commission

03 Jul 2020 News

The overwhelming majority of trustees feel confident in their role, according to research carried out for the Charity Commission. 

A report titled Charity Trustee Survey was published by the regulator yesterday, showing that 55% of those surveyed felt “very confident” in their role. A further 42% felt “somewhat confident”, with just 3% saying they were not confident.  

Populus conducted online interviews with 2,200 trustees. The findings have been published as part of the Commission’s ongoing work on public trust in charities. 

Most trustees said they felt they had the enough time to do the role, that the rules and regulations were not burdensome, and that they were comfortable with their responsibilities. 

Nearly all, 97%, were also confident of their own ability to stop wrongdoing at their charity. 

In agreement with the public 

When asked for their opinions on the charity sector as a whole, trustees mostly agreed with the views of the wider public. For example, 64% of trustees and 63% of the general public think there is “collective responsibility to uphold the reputation of charity more generally”.

However, trustees were more likely to be in favour of paying charity chief executives the same as private sector CEOs. 

Nearly a third (32%) of trustees said “charity’s CEO should be paid the same as CEOs for business in the private sector” compared to 17% of the general public. 

Trustees were also more likely to think behaving ethically was important, with 71% agreeing that “the way our charity goes about meeting its charitable purpose is as important as whether it fulfils that purpose or not”. This compares with 52% of the public. 

Opinion of the regulator 

Trustees had a mainly positive impression of the Charity Commission. 

Some 90% said they are confident the regulator will deal with wrong doing when it emerges, and three-quarters are confident that it will uncover wrongdoing in charities. 

Nearly two-thirds have used a Commission service and 58% said information was easy to find on the regulator's website. 

However most rarely seek out information from the Commission. The top reason, given by 62% of those who rarely or never sought advice from the Commission, was: “I don’t think I need help and guidance that regularly.”

Civil Society Media’s 13th annual Trustee Exchange conference will be run virtually over two mornings on the 29th and 30th July. Pressure on trustee boards has never been higher and we are keen to respond to that need for greater help and guidance in a safe and timely manner – hence the move to an online conference. Find out more here.