Trust in international aid charities drops

International aid web

A study by nfpSynergy has found that 54% of the public feel that charities are trustworthy - but only 36% trust aid agencies

23rd March 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Trust in charities has dropped since scandals surrounding international aid agencies broke, finds new research.

A study by consultancy firm nfpSynergy has found that trust in charities fell by 6% over the past year.

Only 54% of those questioned said they felt they could trust charities, and confidence in overseas aid agencies has also dropped.

The data showed that trust in different types of charities varies enormously – with 40% of respondents saying they had a great deal of trust in hospices and cancer charities, however only 8% said they had a similar level of trust in religious charities.

Compared to a year ago, trust in most sectors has remained stable, except for overseas aid and development organisations.  A decline in trust from 40% to 36% in this area was described as significant by researchers.

Co-founder of the not-for-profit firm Joe Saxton said that international aid agencies were viewed negatively prior to the Oxfam story breaking, but the scandal had reinforced negative views.

"They are trusted less and are seen to need less money, probably as a result of negative media coverage and hostility towards the government's 0.7% aid spending in recent years," he said.

"The Oxfam scandal has reinforced the negative views of many about overseas charities and left the rest of the charity sector relatively unscathed – for now.

"Given how volatile trust in charities is, there is nothing for anybody to be complacent about. As the Oxfam scandal shows, a media storm about almost any aspect of charities is only just around the corner."

The levels of trust recorded by nfpSynergy are in line with those recorded by the Charities Aid Foundation, with the foundation’s annual UK Giving Report showing that 49% of people said most charities are trustworthy.

And the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) launched its I Love Charity campaign, after research showed that trust in charities in Scotland had dropped from 82% to 73% between 2016 and 2017.