BLOG: A charity’s digital presence is vital for rebuilding trust

According to public polling for the Charity Commission, the overall level of trust and confidence in charities fell from 6.7 out of 10 in 2012 and 2014 to 5.7 in 2016 – forecasts show 2017 is no different.

Mistrust is a fundamental challenge in the not-for-profit sector, however, it is not confined to charities.

The digital revolution has catapulted the volume and access to personal data and social media has facilitated a rise in ‘fake news’. It is becoming increasingly difficult to define who is telling the truth. In fact, the Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 suggests 60 per cent of the UK public think ‘the system’ is failing.

A charity’s digital presence is a key facilitator in rebuilding and maintaining trust. Similarly, with GDPR and opt in on the horizon, it is more important than ever that charities review their websites to ensure the new regulations are met. This has a direct impact on charities ability to build trust online.

There are lots of digital techniques charities can adopt to improve trust. Firstly, understanding your audience ensures communication is always relevant and contextual. Once outlined, you could even introduce intelligent tools such as Cognitive Services and AI, which can be used to engage with each individual on a case by case basis whilst taking sensitivity and culture into account.

Secondly, be transparent. Why not publish your charity’s finances and tell your community how donations will be spent? Often this is the most daunting step towards building trust, but transparency can dramatically alter public perception.

And finally, embrace familiarity – do not make users think. User’s do not appreciate surprises; ensure your user experience includes recognisable features and navigation to guide users around the site.

Rob Edwards is the managing director at FARM Digital

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