Royal Flying Doctor Service Again Tops Charity Reputation Index
22 December 2017 at 10:27 am
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has consolidated its place as Australia’s most trusted charity, coming out on top of the annual Charity Reputation Index for the seventh year in a row.
The index is conducted each year by research consultants AMR in conjunction with the Global Reputation Institute (RI), measuring the overall reputation of the country’s 40 largest charities and then ranking them via a scoring system.
Charities are also ranked in a number of areas such as services, innovation, workplace, citizenship, governance, leadership and cost management.
The RFDS has led the index every year since it commenced in 2011 and also ranked first in every category this year.
Rounding out the overall top three were St John’s Ambulance taking second place for the second year in a row, and aero-medical charity CareFlight which came third.
The RFDS director of communications, Lana Mitchell, told Pro Bono News the charity was honoured to again be recognised as Australia’s most reputable charity.
“We’re thrilled with the findings of the 2017 Charity Reputation Index, because they reveal Australians have a deep trust in charities that deliver vital health services and emergency services,” Mitchell said.
“And for us, it’s sort of an indicator that Australians believe in a fair go and they want to make sure those in rural and remote Australia have access to health care.”
Mitchell said the high level of trust in the organisation was due to rural residents of Australia appreciating the vital services the RFDS provides.
“It’s actually not about us, we consider it’s actually about them, the country residents of Australia. They see doctors at half the rate of city people and in emergency some country residents are thousands of kilometres away from a hospital,” she said.
“The RFDS flies in and increasingly drives in health care to the bush. And it’s likely this is the reason why Australians have expressed their trust for the RFDS for the seventh year in a row.”
She added that this trust was “absolutely vital” to the success of the organisation, while also noting that this year’s index indicated that healthcare was a top priority for all Australians.
“When you look at the charity index this year, you’ll see that the top positions are all health care charities or emergency services and this suggests that access to health services remains at the end of 2017, a real key concern for Australians,” Mitchell said.
“It also suggests that voters know governments don’t do enough to ensure that healthcare access is there. Which is why in part donors really give to health causes.
“From our perspective, our mission is always going to be there. And the barriers to health access in such a large country like Australia are always going to be there. So we’re always looking to be smarter, more innovative, and more effective in making health access available to those in country Australia.”
AMR’s managing director Maree Taylor also observed that 2017’s index reflected a strong trust in health care charities and emergency services.
“It’s clear that Australians trust charities helping individuals with physical illness or emergency more than those servicing other sectors,” Taylor said.
“All three of these charities polled particularly well in the individual measurements of services, citizenship and governance, with RFDS also polling well in leadership, workplace, management and innovation.
“It’s an outstanding result for all three, and particularly RFDS, and bodes well for the future reputation of this charitable sector.”
Charities focusing on the health and welfare of children polled strongly this year, with Camp Quality, Starlight Children’s Foundation and CanTeen all ranking in the top 10 of the index.
Those working with people with disability also rated strongly, with Guide Dogs ranking fourth, and the Fred Hollows Foundation ranking sixth.
Reputation Institute Australia and New Zealand’s managing director Oliver Freedman said the strong performance of RFDS, Guide Dogs and Fred Hollows had been a consistent theme of the index.
He noted these were the only three charities to rank in the top 10 across the index’s entire seven year history.
“All three of these charities not only have extremely strong and stable reputations, but at the core of each are very secure perceptions around the services they deliver, and their authenticity. Australians consistently view them as reputable year in year out because of these perceptions,” Freedman said.
While medical services charities were shown to be highly trusted by Australians, environmental charities struggled in the index.
The Wilderness Society, The Australian Conservation Foundation and Greenpeace Australia ranked in the bottom four of the index, however World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) improved its ranking from 30th last year to 22nd.
Taylor said the ranking offered charities the chance to engage with the public and improve their levels of trust going forward.
“Our research shows that Australian charities still have a strong reputation, with certain sectors viewed as more reputable than others,” she said.
“However, this provides an opportunity for those organisations to re-engage with the public in relation to their cause and look at specific ways to build reputational strength in 2018.”