Trust in charities has increased for the third successive year, according to new research by the consultancy nfpSynergy.
A poll of 1,000 people, carried out by nfpSynergy, shows that 66 per cent of people trust charities "quite a lot" or "a great deal", an increase of two percentage points on last year and the highest figure for the sector since 2010.
The poll shows charities are the fourth-most-trusted institutions in Britain, behind the armed forces, which topped the chart, the scouts and guides, and the NHS.
Half of respondents (50 per cent) say they trust charities because they believe they "follow high standards in their fundraising", although only 19 per cent say they trust the Fundraising Standards Board and almost half say they have never heard of it.
Forty per cent of respondents say they trust a charity they or friends or family have had personal contact with, and 33 per cent say they trust a charity because it has been established for a long time.
Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said charities needed to capitalise on the high levels of trust by using it as a platform to explain to the public how they worked.
"This trust is not built on a detailed understanding of how charities work but on a misunderstanding of how charities work," he said.
Saxton said it was time for charities to communicate their impact better, as well as address issues such as administration costs and the salaries of chief executives.
He said that by increasing public understanding of how charities work, they could increase the trust people had in them. "Imagine what levels of trust will be like when they understand what charities do," said Saxton.