Revealed: the 15 most and least trusted charity sectors

The 15 most and least trusted charity sectors have been revealed, with cancer claiming the top spot in a new survey on the trust in charities.

According to the research Trust in charities and the overseas development sector, conducted by nfpSynergy, 76 per cent of respondents said they trusted cancer charities – 39 per cent claiming they had “a great deal” of trust, while 37 per cent said they trusted the sector “up to a point”.

This was followed by rescue services and hospices, which both held the trust of 75 per cent of respondents.

The religious and overseas aid development sectors were found to be the least trusted. Just 36 and 32 per cent of people said they trusted the sectors respectively. As much as 40 per cent of those questioned said they didn’t trust religious charities, while 37 per cent said they lacked trust in overseas and aid development.

The most and least trusted charity sectors

1. Cancer: 76%
2. Rescue services: 75%
3. Hospices: 75%
4. Health and medical (excluding cancer): 72%
5. Dementia: 71%
6. Disability: 70%
7. UK Armed Forces: 69%
8. Animals: 68%
9. Children and young people: 68%
10. Older people: 68%
11. Homelessness and social welfare: 63%
12. Environment and conservation: 60%
13. Sensory impairment: 58%
14. Overseas aid and development: 36%
15. Religious: 32%

Trust in charities generally

The overall trust in charities dropped by 6 per cent this year, down from 60 per cent last autumn to 54 per cent in February.

However, compared to a year ago, the research found the trust in most sectors has remained stable, except for overseas aid and development.

The report said trust in charities has not fallen by as much as might have been anticipated as a result of the Oxfam scandal.

“This is probably because overseas charities are already seen differently by the public,” the report said. “They are trusted less, and are seen to need less money – probably as a result of negative media coverage, and potentially the hostility towards the 0.7 per cent of national income spent on foreign aid in recent years.

“So the Oxfam scandal has reinforced the negative views of many about overseas charities, and left the rest of the charity sector relatively unscathed (for now).

Trust in other institutions

Compared to other institutions, charities were the eight most trusted sector. The research found the NHS to be the most trusted, followed by the Armed Forces, schools, the Royal Mail, the police, Scouts and Guides and small businesses.

Charities received the trust of 54% of the respondents, while the NHS received 76%. Political parties were the least trusted at just 11 per cent. Only 1 per cent said they had “a great deal” of trust in politicians.

“Given how volatile trust in charities is, there is nothing for anybody to be complacent about,” the report added. “As the Oxfam scandal shows, a media storm about almost any aspect of charities is only just around the corner.”

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