Public confidence falls in charities’ response to Covid-19

Trust in charities is falling amid the Covid-19 pandemic, despite rising confidence in many other organisations the public is relying on

Think tank nfp synergy says confidence in a number of institutions amid the crisis is increasing, according to the think tank’s tracking of public sentiment.

Trust in the NHS has risen nine points to 85%.

A similar ramping up in trust for supermarkets, small businesses and Royal Mail was also recorded. The government also saw an increase in trust in May and “even institutions apparently unrelated to the pandemic such as banks have seen increases in trust among the public,” according to nfpSynergy co-managing director Cian Murphy.

But he adds that charities “appear to be the exception” in this growth in public trust.

“While we might expect to see trust in charities go up as word gets out to the public of the excellent work that charities have been doing throughout the pandemic in ensuring that people remain safe and supported, the trendline has in fact remained frustratingly flat,” said Muphey.

While in November 2019 its trust in charities was at 63%, this had slipped to 61% in May this year and just 59% in August.

Murphy says that one explanation for this fall in confidence could be that the pandemic response is “seen as an issue that is too big for charities”. This is leaving the public struggling to see how charities can react to the crisis.

Another “slightly uncomfortable” explanation, he says, is that “the public has not been impressed with the work of charities during the pandemic so far”.

NfpSynergy found that only around half of the public have been impressed charities’ response to the crisis.

Murphy says that while those within the charity sector know the “quality of work being done by charities every day in helping society”, he suggests that “not enough is being done to communicate this to a public that is overloaded with information about the pandemic”.

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