Public trust in sector on the rise

Think tank reports 23% rise in confidence

Public trust in charities has bounced back, according to a poll showing a 23 percentage point rise in confidence in them since July 2007.

The figures from voluntary sector think tank nfpSynergy's Charity Awareness Monitor showed that 65 per cent of respondents to the November 2008 survey had "quite a lot" or "a great deal" of trust in charitable organisations, compared with 42 per cent in July 2007.

The latest increase moved charities from sixth to fourth place in the monitor's overall rankings, ahead of both the police and the scouts. The armed forces remained first with 76 per cent, followed by the NHS on 70 per cent. Schools were third, with of 67 per cent.

The poll of 1,000 people showed that public confidence in banks dropped nine percentage points to 17 per cent over the same period, placing them in second to last position.

Insurance companies were the least trusted by respondents, with confidence falling by five percentage points to 13 per cent.

It also revealed that trust in the Fundraising Standards Board was two percentage points down on July 2007. More than 40 per cent of respondents said they had never heard of the regulatory body.

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said the figures should encourage the sector because it had achieved the biggest increase in public confidence by any public institution over the same period.

But Richard Marsh, director of the ImpACT Coalition, which works to increase public trust in charities, said the sector should not become complacent.

He said the poll revealed that public confidence could easily change. "This survey shows how vulnerable any institution is, and we can't rely on that trust," he said. "We have to maintain it. It's not a right - it's a privilege."

Figures for July 2008 were published at the same time as those for November that year. They showed trust had already risen to 58 per cent from the low point a year before.

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