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Australia’s most reputable charities revealed


3 February 2022 at 4:05 pm
Luke Michael
“We continue to see the reputational strength of many not-for-profit organisations built, in general, on their ability to clearly link how they positively impact the community and the specifics of the services they deliver”


Luke Michael | 3 February 2022 at 4:05 pm


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Australia’s most reputable charities revealed
3 February 2022 at 4:05 pm

“We continue to see the reputational strength of many not-for-profit organisations built, in general, on their ability to clearly link how they positively impact the community and the specifics of the services they deliver”

The Royal Flying Doctor Service says it is honoured to be recognised as a trustworthy organisation, after it again topped an index measuring Australia’s most reputable charities. 

For years, RepTrak (formerly known as the Reputation Institute) published the Australian Charity Reputation Index, which ranks Australia’s 40 largest charities using a scoring system measuring areas such as trust, admiration, respect and overall esteem.

While the company decided in 2020 to no longer publish the list – citing a desire to focus instead on the sector’s reputation as a whole – the top five charities for 2021 have just been revealed. 

RepTrak has confirmed the method for selecting the charities hasn’t changed, with the company again selecting Australia’s 40 largest charities for the study based on the charity commission’s revenue data (although corporate foundations were not considered). 

These latest findings were based on a large national public survey conducted by RepTrak from October to late December 2021.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) received the highest survey score of 98.1, while the rest of the top five included Guide Dogs (94.6), Surf Life Saving Australia (92.9), Foodbank (91.8) and the Starlight Children’s Foundation (91.7).

Oliver Freedman, the SVP of RepTrak APAC, explained what made charities rank highly in the index. 

“Over almost a decade of measuring reputation, we continue to see the reputational strength of many not-for-profit organisations built, in general, on their ability to clearly link how they positively impact the community and the specifics of the services they deliver,” Freedman said.

“In addition, clearly informing the public of this link by using a genuine, authentic, and relevant narrative. RFDS is one example of an organisation who continue to excel at this finding.”

RFDS has a strong track record when it comes to the index. While CareFlight ranked first in the 2019 index, the Royal Flying Doctor Service led the index the previous eight years in a row. 

The charity said it was honoured and humbled to be recognised on the index for so many years.

Frank Quinlan, RFDS federation executive director, said trust was vital for the charity. 

“A patient’s trust in their medical services is vital – particularly if they are living in locations that don’t have easy access to the services enjoyed in our cities,” Quinlan said.

“That we have earned this trust, in the provision of vital, emergency medical and primary health care services to rural and remote Australia, gives our 2,100 staff great pride.”

The Starlight Children’s Foundation also expressed gratitude for being recognised among the nation’s most reputable charities.

CEO Louise Baxter told Pro Bono News she was “incredibly excited” by the charity’s performance. 

She said her background was in brand and marketing, and that for her, a brand is a living and breathing thing. 

“So that means it’s important that the Starlight team – [including] all of our team members, our volunteers, and everybody who’s an ambassador – is really communicating our brand in everything they say and do,” Baxter said.

“And so I think that [this ranking] shows the Starlight team have been doing wonderful things in underpinning our brand and that they’ve been wonderful storytellers, because I think sharing the impact of Starlight is absolutely critical to your reputation.”

Baxter put the charity’s reputational success down to its far reaching service delivery, and growth in digital programs over the past two years – with Starlight creating a YouTube channel and increasing live streams during the pandemic.

She added that trust and reputation was highly important for organisations in the sector. 

“[In this sector] we are asking for people to put their trust in us to make donations, to support us with volunteer hours and donate their goods and services,” she said.

“And so I think that trust and reputation is everything. It’s incredibly important and incredibly valuable.” 


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

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

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