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Poll suggests most people oppose paying charity trustees

And other findings mean the sector must work harder at explaining why senior staff should be paid, says nfpSynergy's Joe Saxton

Joe Saxton
Joe Saxton

More than half of Britons are against paying charity trustees, research released today by nfpSynergy suggests.

The poll of 1,000 people was conducted in November. According to the results, only 14 per cent of respondents thought trustees should be paid, whereas 54 per cent were against paying trustees. This was made up of 29 per cent who said they "definitely should not be paid" and 25 per cent who said they "probably" should not receive salaries.

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents said they thought charity shop managers should be paid, and 40 per cent thought chief executives of charities should be remunerated. Thirty-three per cent of people were against paying chief executives and 39 per cent said directors should not get salaries.

Only 25 per cent said street fundraisers should be paid, and 29 per cent said that people who worked in charity shops should receive salaries.

Respondents were also asked whether they thought various types of charity staff received salaries for their work. Eighty per cent thought chief executives were paid and 33 per cent thought trustees were paid. Fifty-one per cent said they thought street fundraisers were paid.

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said: "The reality is that the public is generally sceptical about paying charity staff at all, let alone at high salaries. We as a sector need to work harder at explaining why senior staff in charities should be paid, and those – like me – who believe that charities should be able to choose to pay their trustees need to redouble our efforts as well.

"I wonder, however, if the paid chief executives who happily say trustees shouldn’t be paid because of public trust will take any notice of the public’s reticence to pay chief executives. If paying trustees is bad for public trust, why isn’t paying chief executives and other directors?"

In his review of the Charities Act 2006, Lord Hodgson proposed that charities with incomes of more than £1m should be allowed to pay their trustees without permission from the Charity Commission.

But Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, rejected the hotly debated proposal in his interim response to the review.

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