Tuesday, 17 September 2013

One in four do nothing for charity!

A worrying new problem for the charity sector in the UK has been revealed by some new research carried out by the Charities Aid Foundation. The report reveals that one in four people donate little or nothing for charity. According to the new report the vast majority of the time and money donated to good causes in Britain comes from just nine per cent of people.

Download the pdf report Click Here 

The Charities Aid Foundation promotes charitable giving shows that just 9% of people give 66% of the time and money donated to charities. These people are described as the country’s “Civic Core”. At the same time 67% per cent of people in the “Middle Ground” of giving account for the remaining 34% of charitable activity 24% do little or nothing for charity and are referred to as the “Zero Givers”. The report shows that people volunteering their time is the major difference between Britain’s most generous group and other parts of society. 

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "This report raises serious questions about the nature of society in 21st century Britain. Britain is one of the most charitable countries in the world, yet this research shows a stark divide in society between those who do the most for good causes and those who do little if anything at all."

I think the Charities Aid Foundation missed a golden opportunity to test what peoples perception was of a good or bad charity. As the public become ever more savvy and acutely aware of bankers salaries and bonuses. They are also becoming much more aware of the high salary paid to some senior staff within charities sector. There seems to be a bit of salary comparison going on. Some of the more astute of the charities have recognised the increased public awareness. 

The chief executive of 'Mary's Meals' has said the charity will not pay large salaries to its staff. Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow, founder and CEO of Mary's Meals, spoke after it emerged that some charities in the UK paid their chief executives more than £90,000.' He said "No one at Mary's Meals was paid more than £60,000. We have a conviction that those who are paid to work for Mary's Meals should never be paid high salaries. This is because we work with tens of thousands of volunteers all over the world, and we would find it hard to do this that while paying ourselves high salaries. As we have grown, this has sometimes been a difficult thing to manage, and there have been times when potential candidates have been unable to accept paid posts because of our salary policy."

The Charity Commission Report. 2012
Public trust and confidence in charities: analysis of findings

Download the pdf report Click Here 

The vast majority of the public (96%) say charities play an essential, very important or fairly important role in society. We have noted with particular interest, the significant increase in the proportion of the public who now believe that charities play an essential role in society (30% in 2010 to 37% in 2012). It seems likely that this increase is linked to the public’s awareness of pressures on public funds and the role charities can play during times of need.

We have noted the continued and significant influence fundraising has on public trust and confidence. 67% of the public say that some fundraising methods used by charities make them uncomfortable.

The way in which charities use their funds remains the most important factor relating to trust. Ensuring that a reasonable proportion of donations make it to the end cause (43% of the public selected this as the top factor), and knowing that charities are making a positive difference to the cause they work for is the second most important factor (31%).

However, less than one in ten people (7%) think that charities would be best at providing a professional service. This may indicate that some people still view charities being run by ‘amateurs’ and is not necessarily based on direct knowledge or experience. At the same time, the public express concerns about charities spending too much on salaries and administrative costs (59% either strongly agreed or tended to agree that too much was spent on these costs). This indicates a lack of appreciation that charities need to be well managed and may need to operate in a ‘business like’ way to achieve their charitable purposes.

Some mixed messages emerge about the role of the media. 22% of people cite media coverage about how charities spend donations as a reason why they think their confidence has decreased in the past two years. But amongst people whose confidence in charities has increased, some attribute this to media stories about how charities spend their donations (8%).

The report also raises another interesting paradox. The most common reason why some charities are trusted less is not knowing how their money is spent (36% of those who trust a particular charity / type of charity less than others; and 16% of those whose trust has decreased in the past two years give this reason). The potential concern for us as regulator and for the charity sector itself is what happens if the public learn more about how their money is spent by charities but disagree with the way it is spent. This is a possibility given that the research showed a high level of public concern about the amount of money charities spend on salaries and administration (59%). We believe that openness and transparency by charities, and the ability to explain how all their expenditure and work supports their cause are crucial in this respect.

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