Charity Commission: Trust in Charities, 2018

The Gathering 2018

Year of publication

The latest Charity Commission research into public trust and confidence in charities, conducted by Populus in February and is based on a sample of 2,059 adults.

Key findings:

  • Public trust and confidence in charities remains at similar levels to 2016.
  • In 2018 charities were rated a mean score of 5.5 out of 10 on trust - 0.2 lower than two years ago when the Commission last did the research.
  • There has not yet been a recovery to pre-2016 mean trust levels of around 6.6 (possibly due to recent controversies around poor fundraising practices, Kids Company and more recently Oxfam and other international aid agencies).
  • Charities remain highly valued - A majority (58%) think charities play an ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ role in society today. Only 6% think they do not play an important role.
  • While trust in charities is lower than in previous years, charities are still more trusted than many other sectors and institutions, including private companies, banks, MPs, and newspapers.
  • There has been a long-term growth in the % who self-report that their trust has decreased.
    When asked what types of organisations come to mind when they think of ‘charities’, the public instinctively imagine the country’s largest charities, such as Oxfam, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, and those which directly help vulnerable or ill people. Very few respondents immediately thought of local charities, educational organisations, or cultural institutions. (suggesting that the pubic were responding to questions with a very small proportion of the sector in mind.)
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