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Australian Trust in Charities on the Rise


11 February 2019 at 4:25 pm
Luke Michael
Australians are becoming more trustful of charities and expect NGOs to work with other sectors to drive social change, according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer.


Luke Michael | 11 February 2019 at 4:25 pm


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Australian Trust in Charities on the Rise
11 February 2019 at 4:25 pm

Australians are becoming more trustful of charities and expect NGOs to work with other sectors to drive social change, according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer.

Newly released Australian data from the global survey – which includes 33,000 respondents across 26 countries ­– revealed trust in NGOs has risen from 48 per cent in 2018 to 56 per cent this year.

Trust also rose in other institutions from 2018 to 2019, including business (45 per cent to 52 per cent), government (35 per cent to 42 per cent) and media (31 per cent to 40 per cent).

But Francesca Boase, managing director at Edelman Australia, told Pro Bono News Australians were still distrustful compared to other countries, noting Australia’s overall trust score of 48 per cent was below the global average of 52 per cent.

“Trust in NGOs has gone up and it has moved Australians’ trust in NGOs into a trusting status, whereas last year we found Australians were distrustful of NGOs,” Boase said.

She said it was worth pointing out that 79 per cent of Australians believed business CEOs should take the lead in driving social change, and in the context of NGOs, it was clear a collaborative approach was needed.

“There is an expectation that business will take a lead but I think the way we are going to see greater social change is when businesses, NGOs and government work together,” she said.

“We have seen some really interesting examples of that in the last year, like with the plastic bag ban or the last straw campaign.

“What we’re seeing is that NGOs are holding people to account and it is really important that NGOs are seen as the bastion of really important causes and are able to drive change.”

Boase noted the importance of shared value as a concept because it meant NGOs and other organisations could get together and create campaigns or address social issues to the benefit of their stakeholders.

The survey also revealed only 15 per cent of Australians agreed the system was working for them.

Only one in three (32 per cent) said they believed their family would be better o­ff in five years’ time.

Boase said this was “absolutely” a sign that Australians wanted change.

“I think it is an absolute call out for a need to address social issues and for institutions to begin building trust again,” she said.

She added she was hopeful trust levels continued their upward trend in 2020, but admitted it was hard to predict year-on-year.

“If previous results are anything to go by it’s really impossible to say what will happen next year,” she said.

“But I do think if we reflect on the last 12 months and on things like various royal commissions or the drought… I believe there is recognition that NGOs have a really important role to play in these issues that affect all Australians.”


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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