Charities fall four places in public trust table drawn up by nfpSynergy

The public: less trusting of charities
The public: less trusting of charities

Charities have fallen four places to 12th in the list of most trusted organisations and institutions in the UK, according to the latest data from the research consultancy nfpSynergy.

The data, which is based on a nationally representative survey of 1,000 UK adults, shows that the proportion of people who say they trust charities "quite a lot" or a "great deal" has fallen from 53 per cent in April to 48 per cent in October.

Public trust in charities was already at its lowest level since 2007, when it was 42 per cent, according to the April figures.

The latest data takes into account the effects on public trust of the coverage of the Olive Cooke case and the subsequent focus on charity fundraising, which all happened since the previous survey.

The level of trust in charities has fallen by 18 percentage points since May 2013 and 22 percentage points since January 2010, when it was 70 per cent.

Researchers asked people to rate how much trust they had in a range of 24 organisations and institutions, including banks, the legal system and the NHS.

The latest results show that trust in charities has fallen below that of the BBC, the royal family, TV and radio stations and supermarkets since the last survey in April.

The armed forces continues to lead the list, on 74 per cent, while political parties come bottom, on 12 per cent.

The proportion of people who said they trusted the Fundraising Standards Board increased from 22 per cent in April to 25 per cent in the latest survey.

The data shows that 16 to 24-year-olds have the highest level of trust in charities – 61 per cent told researchers they trusted them a great deal or quite a lot. The over-55s have the lowest score on 42 per cent.

This means the group that trusts charities the most is the least important in terms of donations and the group that trusts the least is the core group for charity income, nfpSynergy said.

The fall in levels of trust in charities was not part of a wider trend among other institutions, the consultancy said.

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said the results were not surprising given the recent coverage of charities in the media.

"The image of charities and their activities have had six months of unprecedented negative coverage in a number of areas," he said.

Saxton said the sector could only hope that the new fundraising self-regulation regime and the partnership between the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Acevo to promote "brand charity" were able to get going as quickly as possible.

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