To say that the charity sector makes a wide ranging and significant contributor to the UK’s economy and wellbeing would probably be an understatement. From pan-global entities which seek to improve the lives of those in far-flung countries, or to rush in aid when disaster strikes, through to fundraising efforts which aim to make a difference a local level, the charity sector is as diverse as the needs of those which it serves.
It was therefore disappointing to see the results of the 2016 biannual Charity Commission study into public trust and confidence in charities. This revealed that trust has fallen to 5.7 out of ten from a previous high of 6.7 seen in 2014 and 2012.
According to the study, trust in the charity sector is driven by five key drivers which include making a positive difference and ensuring that a reasonable proportion of donations are used to further the aims of the charity, ensuring that fundraisers are honest and ethical and the charity being well managed. The level of trust in all five areas was shown to have declined since the previous review.
On a more positive note, the study also revealed that the public were more likely to trust smaller charities and that the overall view of the important role which charities had to play in the life of the country had not diminished. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who reported having an active involvement with a charity, whether by using its services or receiving support have a more positive view of the role of charities than those who have yet to call upon their services.
Nevertheless, there is a perception gap which needs to be addressed and the Charity Commission has taken various steps in order to help charities to do just this. In June it updated and reissued its guidance on charity fundraising which included a handy checklist for charities to use when they are considering fundraising activities. This includes actions to be taken in respect of planning, supervising fundraisers, trustee duties, complying with the law and being open & accountable.
As the Charity commission says in one of its publications, it is the actions of the few which has tainted the perception of the sector as a whole but it is up to every charity to help to rebuild the perception of the sector. This means ensuring that the charity is well run, optimises the cost/benefits mix and has a positive relationship with the public.
In recognition of the important role which charities have to play in the life of the country, Callagenix offers a beneficial package which is aimed at helping charities to control costs whilst at the same time improving telephone access. Not only can charities benefit from using the special 0300 numbers which are allocated to the charity sector, Callagenix also offers charities a substantial discount on its usual service costs and call charges.
Whilst we are happy to work with charities to design their optimum telephony solution, typically telephony services may include call data, call divert, answerphone, message notification and a virtual switchboard solution. Taken as a whole, this package enables charities to enhance their visibility whilst controlling one aspect of their costs. It’s not a complete solution but it may help in some small way to further the Charity commission’s aim for charities to “get the message out to the public that things are changing, and show that they care about winning back public trust.”