Figures released at The Gathering 2018 have revealed that public trust in charities in Scotland has fallen by nine percentage points over the last two years.
The data comes from a telephone survey conducted by Ipsos MORI as part of the Scottish Public Opinion Monitor in December 2017, which shows that 73% of the 1,088 Scots questioned strongly or tended to agree that charities are trustworthy – a drop from 82% since 2015.
While this may seem disheartening, it’s worth noting that the rate of trust recorded in Scotland is still highest in the UK, and the findings also highlight just how important charities are to Scottish communities.
The majority of people surveyed (82%) has used a charity service in the last year – and personal experience was noted as a key indicator of trust.
The findings have prompted the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) to launch an ‘I Love Charity’ campaign, which aims to inspire trust in charities by supporting good governance within organisations to ensure they are well run, open and transparent, and to encourage charities to work harder at promoting the positive impact of their work.
At The Gathering in February 2018, we asked the First Minister and third sector colleagues from across the country to share why they love charity:
Many charities across the country are already finding new and innovative ways to challenge misinformation and promote trust in their cause, by involving their communities and embracing digital platforms – and are proving that you don’t have to be a big organisation to do it. Read some of our case studies:
Most charities are aware of the good work they are doing – however providing concrete proof can be challenging.The Yard has been praised for the support it provides to disabled children and their families at its play facility in Edinburgh – and has expanded to Dundee and Fife.Curiosity over the wider impact of its work led the organisation to commission a social impact study last year.“We were pretty sure through anecdotal evidence that our service was valued by the families that we worked with, but we had no real proof of this,” said chief executive Celine Sinclair.“Through the social impact study, we were able to identify that families felt more informed, and less isolated after they had been at The Yard.“The research provide clear, qualitative and quantitive which shows the good things we are doing.”The research showed that every pound spent at The Yard results in a return of over £20, and every pound invested achieves a social saving of £12. It also provided evidence of the positive effect that The Yard has on the families who attend, with them feeling more confident and being able to meet people in similar situations to them.The study is now being used to aid the charity in funding applications, and to display its good work to supporters.“I think quite often charities embark on projects but don’t re-evaluate them and think is what we are doing right?,” Sinclair added.“The study showed that the return on a pound that is spent on our service is about £20. That is a very good return for the local authorities that have given us funding.“It also makes sense to the people who support our organisation and for the businesses that are raising money on our behalf.”The study did come at a cost however, with the Yard able to fund it after a generous donation from a supporter. However the data in the study can be continually updated, meaning that the charity has up-to-date evidence of its work that can be utilised when required.Sinclair said: “The reason we made the decision to do the research was that we realised that we were at a size where we were having to raise a sizeable income, and we wanted to be able to very clearly evidence what people when they gave us their money.“It was about being able to build trust with our stakeholders, those who have funded us, and being able to demonstrate to them very clearly that our model of supporting disabled children and their families is great value for money.“It’s quite a big investment, both in terms of money and time. We would be happy to speak to other charities about it. We were lucky to get an allocated pot of money from one of our funders who wanted to specifically fund this, and it might be that organisations would also need a similar type of funding to carry out similar research.”Read about The Yard on Good HQ
Loyalty is key for a charity’s survival – and harbouring trust is easier than recovering from distrust. With funding harder to come by than ever, organisations are more reliant on their supporters and need to prove their worth to funders.Starter Packs Glasgow is an example of a charity which has bounced back from having trust issues, and may not have survived had it not been for the understanding nature of its backers.The organisation was set up by a group of churches in 2000, but has been independent for more than a decade, and provides household essentials to those who have secured properties after being homeless.Manager Gavin Dunbar took the helm of the charity having volunteered and worked in the charity’s shop The Magpie’s Eye, which sells vintage items.He said: “The charity has always been run on a shoestring. Most charities struggle with the same things – funding, lack of volunteers and things like that.“We really are a community based charity but that doesn’t mean we can’t be professional about what we do. It’s all about making the most of your donations, your volunteers and your staff. It’s also about making the most of what you do for the community and the people that you help.“Five years ago we were really struggling, it was a real mess and a lot of things weren’t being done properly.“But our two shops had such a good reputation, particularly the Magpie’s Eye. I don’t think most people were aware of the issues, but those that were aware gave us the benefit of the doubt because they knew what we wanted to do.”With rare records often appearing on its shelves, the Magpie’s Eye has developed a significant following, which has allowed Starter Packs to spread information on the work it carries out.“I think one of the reasons that Starter Packs Glasgow has survived is that the community has been so supportive and know that we are in this for the right reasons,” Dunbar continued.“They know what we do, and what we are trying to do. The Magpie’s Eye shop brings people into Govan, and they look out for the stuff that we sell. When they come to the shop, they meet the staff and can see what we are all about.“Social media has also been key. People see items they like on our Facebook page and head straight for the shop. This has allowed us to gain a good following online.”Gaining a following has also allowed the charity to benefit from fundraising events.“Many of our supporters are big music fans, because of the type of records which we have in the shop,” Dunbar said.“We recently had a fundraiser which saw a vegan pop-up restaurant being held in Kinning Park to raise funds for us, which was great.“It is nice to do things that are a bit different, and that also make a real difference to us as well.”Read about Starter Packs Glasgow on Good HQ
Page last modified on 3rd July 2018