Daily Update: How charities can earn public trust

According to a recent poll published by nfp Synergy, high fundraising standards are the most important factor in building public trust in a charity.  57% of those polled claimed that “[knowing] the charity follows high standards in their fundraising” was of vital importance in generating trust, whilst only 8% believed that this was possible through television advertising campaigns, and 5% through celebrity endorsement.

The Charity Commission suggests “it is likely that the public are becoming more discerning about how charities use their donations.  This emphasis on sound financial management may be a consequence of the wider economic climate, which has required all sectors of the economy, and many individual households, to cut costs and reassess priorities.  It is therefore crucial that charities are able to account publicly for their spending decisions.”

It is more important now than ever before, with the decline in public sector expenditure, that charities can generate the trust necessary to encourage donations.  The good news is that public trust in the charitable sector seems to be on the increase.  Between 2008 and 2010, the number of people rating their level of trust as ‘very high’, increased from 36% to 41%.  But charities must know how to engender such trust in their fundraising standards.  This can, according to the same survey, be done by “[ensuring] that a reasonable proportion of a charity’s income reaches the end cause”.

But the Charity Brand Index results show that “the charitable organisations that score most highly on trust…are those that have ‘royal’ in the title or support the armed forces”.  This claim is supported by the naming of the two most trusted charities (2010) as the Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign and SSAFA Forces Help.

Are these the charities that you would trust the most?  What is the most important factor in building trust in a charity?  And how do you decide which charities to support?  We would love to know your views.

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