Policy, campaigns & research

New research shows people trust charities more if they have a personal connection

News Release

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 for immediate release

Now in its tenth year, the Charity Commission’s bi-annual research on public trust and confidence in charity, published today, suggests that charities are losing favour with the public for the first time.

Asked in 2014 to rate their trust in confidence in charities, an average score of 6.7 out of ten was recorded. Today’s research however, based on a survey of 1,085 people conducted by research company Populus in early 2016, shows this figure has dropped one point to 5.7 out of ten.

Speaking after the launch of the research today, Ciaran Price, Policy Officer at the charity Directory of Social Change (DSC) said: ‘After a year of high-profile scandals, it’s no surprise that measures of public trust in confidence appear to have declined. However this could be down to little more than a short-term response to negative and often unfair media criticism, and not necessarily indicative of longer-term drop in public support. Individual charities should look to reinforce the trust and confidence of their existing supporters and beneficiaries before deciding they are inevitably affected by a global problem.’

He went on to add, ‘The report confirms that trust and confidence increases the more people have an interaction with a charity – for example as a beneficiary of charity services or as a volunteer – and that the public underestimates how much they benefit from charities. Charities can definitely better communicate who they are, what they do, and the difference they make. This could improve trust and confidence. We have to be realistic also that we can’t spoon feed the public. The issues charities work on and the regulation they work within are complex. The public rightly wants transparency – we can advertise the fact that you can get charities accounts freely online but that doesn’t mean people are going to read them. Everybody in this country benefits from charity, in ways they do not even realise. As a sector we need to get that message out loud and clear.’ (See note)

For more information please contact Ciaran Price, Directory of Social Change by email (cprice@dsc.org.uk) or phone (020 7697 4295). 


Notes to editors:

  • DSC developed the #EverybodyBenefits game to demonstrate to the public the extent to which every person in every community benefits from the work of charities. We are inviting people to play the game and share it widely: www.dsc.org.uk/everybodybenefits
  • Founded in 1974, the Directory of Social Change (DSC) is a national charity which supports an independent voluntary sector through campaigning, training and publications. DSC is the largest supplier of information and training to the voluntary sector, and its work helps tens of thousands of organisations every year achieve their aims. Learn more at www.dsc.org.uk