Government needs to educate public on workings of groups

The Government should concentrate more on educating the public on how modern charities work and less on regulating fundraising, a new report has claimed.

Research from think-tank nfpSynergy found that while public trust in charities is not declining, there is concern about how much money voluntary organisations spend on fundraising. In addition, only 45 per cent of people surveyed think that charities should use donations to generate future income.

Joe Saxton, consultant at nfpSynergy, said: "The Strategy Unit report is proposing regulation only on the issue of fundraising bad practice.

Our report shows there is concern about far more than fundraising bad practice. There is no point in providing solutions where there isn't a problem.

"What hits the headlines is the way money is spent, not how it is raised.

The issue is public understanding, not trust, and no-one is working to keep the public up to date with the way charities work. We have to tackle public understanding at a headline level."

Saxton called for government funding of sector bodies to explain and defend the work of charities. For example, through publicising the Institute of Fundraising's Donor's Charter.

Charities were named by 40 per cent of respondents as one of the three organisations considered most trustworthy. They outscored local authorities, TV and radio stations, trade unions, governments, newspapers, companies and political parties.

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