Public trust in non-governmental organisations has increased by four percentage points over the past year and remains higher than for business, government or the media, a new survey has found.
The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, run by the PR firm Edelman, says that 50 per cent of the UK public trust NGOs, up from 46 per cent a year ago.
Among the "informed public" – people who are college educated, in the top 25 per cent of income per age group, aged 25 to 64 and who are engaged with the media and business news – trust in NGOs is 61 per cent, 10 percentage points higher than in 2015.
The survey’s UK results are based on an online sample of 2,500 people, 1,150 of which come under the heading "informed public", with a further 1,000 of the general online population, 250 low-income households and 100 high-net-worth individuals.
The survey, which is in its 16th year, is run online in 28 countries and has more than 33,000 respondents. It was conducted in October and November 2015.
NGOs are most trusted by low-income households; business has the most trust among high-net-worth individuals.
According to the survey, although trust in NGOs is increasing, only 60 per cent of the general public trust them to keep pace with change, compared with 69 per cent for business and 66 per cent for the media.
NGOs are more trusted than business, government and the media, but those three sectors have registered five-year highs among the informed public, at 60 per cent, 55 per cent and 52 per cent respectively.
Among the general population, businesses are trusted by 46 per cent of people, while the media and government are trusted by 36 per cent of respondents.
The survey concludes that the second biggest reason why trust in business has increased – behind the perception that it produces economic growth – is that it contributes to the greater good, with 80 per cent agreeing that "a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates". The survey found that 80 per cent agreed that chief executives of all types of organisation should be more visible discussing societal issues.