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Do charities play an essential role in society?

On 4 July The Charity Commission has published new research into public trust and confidence in charities.

The independent research was carried out by Ipsos MORI. The research shows that there has been an increase in the number of people who feel that charities play an 'essential' role in society (37% compared to 30% in 2010). Overall, 96% of people say charities' role is essential, very important or fairly important.

Overall, public trust and confidence in charities remains high, with a mean score of 6.7 (up from 6.6 in 2010). The research shows that charities are still one of the most trusted groups, with only the police and doctors being more trusted.

The research also shows that the overwhelming majority of people believe charities should provide the public with information on 'how they spend their money' (96%) and on 'how they benefit the public' (94%). The public view on this has remained unchanged over time.

The most common reason why some charities are trusted less is not knowing how their money is spent (36% who trust certain charities less than others mention this). The most common reason given for trusting a charity more is having seen or experienced what they do (38%), unchanged from 2010.

Other key findings include:

  • Familiarity with charities has a strong bearing on trust with 82% of the public trusting charities more if they have heard of them;
  • Three in five people agree they trust charities more if they are providing services within their local community (59%).



Date: 18th July, 2012
Author: Wendy Bambrick


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