Australia’s Most Trusted Charity Brand Revealed
22 May 2017 at 5:07 pm
Guide Dogs Australia has once again been named the nation’s most trusted charity.
For the fifth year running, the not for profit has topped the list of Australia’s Most Trusted Charity Brand as part of the annual Reader’s Digest’s Trusted Brands survey, released on Monday.
The survey, which has been conducted annually for 18 years and has included a charity category since 2013, polled 2,450 Australians on their most trusted brands in 71 categories of products and services across a broad range of industries.
Doctors Without Borders and Cancer Council Australia were also recognised as highly commended in the charity category.
Guide Dogs spokesperson and CEO for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Dr Graeme White told Pro Bono News it was “a big surprise and a great honour” to be recognised.
“They only brought in the charity category five years ago and we have won it every year, so it is really quite extraordinary,” White said.
“There are thousands of charities out there and there are some fantastic charities doing some brilliant work and to think that we’re top of mind with the community, or the 2,500 people that were surveyed, as a wholly trusted charity and we can prop up the top for five years in a row that is humbling and it is an honour.
“It really gives you a great sense of connection with the community, it makes you feel that the way that we tried to be totally transparent and do the right thing by our donors and supporters is getting through to them and they can see that we can be trusted.
“Generally it makes us feel pretty chuffed.”
He said the survey, which was carried out by market research company Roy Morgan Research, highlighted the significance of a trusting relationship between a person with sight loss and their guide dog.
“Trust is at the heart of everything we do, particularly between a person with sight loss and their guide dog which gives them the freedom to get around safely and independently,” White said.
“This trust extends to the community, who love to see our iconic guide dogs out and about with their handler. We frequently hear from locals who have spotted a working dog – it’s a rare opportunity for people to see a cause they support in action.
“Our cause is highly visible, our name is Guide Dogs and guide dogs is what people see in the street, and I think when they see somebody working with a guide dog they can see almost an invisible, very strong bond and very strong trust between the person and the dog and I think that translates into the trust they have for the organisation.”
Guide Dogs client Barbara Bonfield, who was born with a retinal eye condition that caused her to become blind by the age of 12, received her first guide dog in 1993.
She said having a guide dog made an “enormous difference” to her mobility and quality of life.
“I travel more frequently now and it’s reassuring when I am out, to be able to completely trust my guide dog Samara,” Bonfield said.
“Many people don’t realise how exhausting going out can be when you’re blind and the need to rely so heavily on other senses to keep safe. But with Samara I have more energy and confidence; I know that when I catch a train she will always find the door to my right, meaning she will always be between me and the gap so that I won’t fall.
“I really do trust Samara with my life.”
White said it was “absolutely critical” for the community to trust charities.
“Every day, 28 Australians are diagnosed with sight loss, including nine who become blind, and without the ongoing trust and support of the community, we would not be able to continue our important work,” White said.
“We receive less than 10 per cent of our funding around Australia from the government. So we are over 90 per cent reliant on the generosity of the community.
“If the community doesn’t trust us and doesn’t see transparently that we are using their hard earned money effectively and efficiently, then the donations decrease and we can’t do our work and we have to close our doors.
“So for all charities that are reliant on fundraising and the donations and generosity of the community, trust would be absolutely imperative.”