MPs impressed by financial independence, research shows

Financially independent charities are most likely to impress MPs, according to new research.

Sector consultancy nfpSynergy asked 180 MPs to name the charities that had most ‘impressed’ them in the past six months. The survey found that the charities that made the most impact on MPs were frequently those with large proportions of voluntary income, rather than those that relied on other sources of income such as Government funding.

The top 30 charities named by MPs had an average voluntary income of 61 per cent of their total income, compared with 38 per cent in the sector at large. Only five of the charities named by MPs had a lower proportion of voluntary income than the sector-wide average.

The charities that impressed MPs despite below average levels of voluntary income – such as the RNID, Barnardo's and Mencap – had large absolute amounts of voluntary income because of their overall size.

“These findings show that in the current political and regulatory environment, and despite recent Prime Ministerial Compact-related assurances, only charities with significant proportions of non-statutory income feel independent and confident enough to engage with, and thereby impress, MPs,” said nfpSynergy co-founder Joe Saxton. “Charities should know that financial independence is the precursor to making you more influential and ultimately effective, not less.”

But Saxton said that being well known also helped charities to influence MPs.

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