Armed forces charities struggling to attract attention, research finds

Charities supporting armed forces personnel and veterans are struggling to attract the public’s attention, latest research has found.

Research based on public surveying in February found more half (53%) of respondents did not understand how armed forces charities provide support. Only a similar proportion (50%) said they would like to know more.

The findings have been revealed by consultancy nfpResearch which believes the lack of attention given to the armed forces in the media is a factor in low levels of public interest in the charities that support them.

In addition, “almost half of the public think that charities supporting the armed forces aren’t as relevant today as they used to be”.

But the research suggests service personnel and veterans charities can turn this trend around by focusing on the public’s emotional attachment to the armed forces, particularly around the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy campaign.

Just under three quarters (73%) of the public say they are proud to wear a poppy. Similarly, 78% believe the armed forces are “an essential part of the fabric of our society”.

Focusing on support around mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is another trend for armed forces charities to focus on, the research suggests.

It found that just under a quarter (22%) of the public want to see health funding prioritise mental health, up from only 9% when asked in 2015.

The most common concern the public believe veterans face is around their mental health.

“The UK has a long history of trust and respect for our Armed Forces,” said nfpResearch co-managing director Tim Harrison-Byrne.

“Remembrance offers charities a chance to garner support for veterans and their families, but unlocking further support year-round will rely on better public awareness. This can be a major hurdle for any charity. Thankfully, the public are passionate to help, but just need to be met with more information on the impact these charities have.”

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