Trust in charities is now at its highest level since 2013, with voluntary sector organisations now being rated as the fourth most trusted public institution, according to new survey data from nfpSynergy.
Trust in Charities – Autumn 2016 Update, was published this morning and is based on a survey of 1,000 UK adults. It found that charities are now the fourth most trusted public institution after the NHS, Schools and the Armed Forces.
This time a year ago, nfpSynergy found that charities were only the 12th most trusted institution, behind even TV and radio stations.
The survey data found that trust has grown most among the over 65 age group, of which 70 per cent of respondents said they trusted charities "a great deal", or "quite a lot" – a 42 per cent increase from the previous year.
However younger people are slightly less trusting of charities than they were a year ago. Trust in charities fell in 16-24 age group by 2 per cent, while it fell 4 per cent in the 25-34s with just 51 per cent of respondents in that demographic saying they trusted charities – the lowest age group surveyed.
Contrast with Ipsos Mori survey
Another recent survey on public trust in charity chief executives published by Ipsos Mori had different results. In its Veracity Index 2016, Ipsos found that, overall, only 36 per cent of the ‘pre-war’ generation (over-65s) said they trusted charity chief-executives to tell the truth; 14 per cent less than respondents in the 15-24 age bracket.
The Ipsos Mori survey found that, overall, respondents trusted charity chief executives less than they did hairdressers, lawyers and television news readers.
Both set of survey respondents said that politicians/political parties were their least trusted public institution.
Less trust in fundraising regulators, than in charities they regulate
The survey also asked respondents to rate how much trust they have in the Fundraising Regulator. The data shows that, since July 2009 trust in what was then the FRSB and is now the Fundraising Regulator, has increased by 19 per cent, from 16 per cent to 35 per cent as of October 2016.
Trust in fundraising regulation peaked at 38 per cent in July 2016, but has fallen back by 3 per cent to 35 per cent at the time the survey data was published.
However, over 60 per cent of respondents to the same question said they trusted charities as of October 2016, 25 per cent more than said the same of the new Fundraising Regulator.
Of the 1,000 adults who responded to the survey in October 2016, 69 per cent said that they were a charity supporter, compared with 55 per cent of respondents in the October 2015 survey.
Joe Saxton, founder of nfpSynergy, said that while the results of the survey were interesting “there is no evidence in our research that increases or decreases in trust in the general public have any impact on levels of giving or volunteering”.