Strong Public Trust in Aussie Charities
9 July 2013 at 12:13 pm
Public trust in the Australian charity sector is high according to a study released by the new national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not?for?profits Commission (ACNC).
Only the police and doctors were rated higher than charities in the national survey.
The survey found the most common reason for choosing to support a charity is the perceived importance of the charity’s work (70%). Participants also commonly supported charities they trusted to make a positive difference (54%) and that have a good reputation (46%).
ACNC Assistant Commissioner David Locke said the most common reasons for people choosing to support a charity was recognition of the organisation and its reputation.
“The public are happy to give to organisations they have heard of and are a household name or are a community organisation of someone they know,” he said.
“Australian’s have a very high trust in charities. Previously studies showed Australia is a very giving nation. This research reaffirmed the generosity of Australians.”
Respondents placed the highest importance on charities providing information about how donations are used (90%), the impact of their work (87%), and the proportion of funds spent directly on the charity’s work (87%).
While 56% of participants were very satisfied with the information they receive from their supported charities, there was a widespread belief that charities do not generally supply enough information about their activities.
Respondents most commonly selected information about scam charities (67%), information about charities’ activities and beneficiaries (65%) and information about a charity’s objectives (61%) as the information they would most likely search for on a charity register.
Around 70% of respondents claimed to know a reasonable amount about an organisation before supporting it.
The study also revealed wide public support for the ACNC Register with almost 80% of
participants believing a public register of charities to be ‘very important’.
The ACNC said the study of 1,624 people found that their trust and confidence in Australian charities increased significantly, from an initial score of 6.6 out of 10 to a score of 7, when the role of the new regulator was explained.
Respondents most commonly selected keeping a register of charities (52%), handling complaints about charities (52%) and policing charity fundraising (51%) as the functions they expect the ACNC to perform.
ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM said a charity’s activities and its ability to make a positive difference were found to be the strongest drivers of public trust and confidence.
“The public has high levels of trust for charities that are open about their activities, structure and the ways funds are distributed,” Pascoe said.
Respondents placed the highest importance on charities providing information about the impact of their work and the distribution of donations.
The research findings coincide with the launch of the ACNC Register to be held on July 11, 2013.
“The ACNC Register is the official searchable database of Australian charities, providing a platform for 57,600 registered charities to list information including their beneficiaries and financial information,” Pascoe said.
The study revealed wide public support for the Register with around 80% of participants believing a public register of charities to be ‘very important’.
“Importantly, early research into the attitudes of ACNC stakeholders found that registered charities are also overwhelmingly supportive of the ACNC and its work.”
The online study of 1,624 participants was conducted by ChantLink on behalf of the ACNC.
Launched in December 2012, the ACNC is the first national charity regulator established to support public trust and confidence in the sector, and reduce the level of regulatory obligations.