New Zealand Law Society - Confidence in charities fails to improve

Confidence in charities fails to improve

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A survey has revealed that New Zealanders’ trust in charities remains “moderate” with a feeling too much money was being spent on administration.

The Horizon Research study – conducted on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs – asked 2,118 people their views between 7 and 16 December 2016.

It found that the level of trust and confidence in charities was 5.9 on a scale of 10 – virtually the same as when the survey was done in 2014 and 2012, but a drop from 6.5 in 2008.

Only 12% of those asked said they trusted charities completely, with men having less confidence than women, and those aged 35-54 less trusting than other age groups.  

Respondents’ negative views pointed to media coverage of charities, lack of information on how charities spent donations and a general perception that too much money was spent on administration.

Key areas that respondents felt needed to be addressed within the charitable sector were:

  • Administration costs: 9% commented spontaneously on either administration costs or the proportion of charities’ funds that were allocated to administration;
  • Assessing the charitable status of organisations and removing it where appropriate. This was mentioned by 8% of respondents, with specific references to religious organisations and organisations with charitable status that have commercial interests;
  • More transparency, particularly about where charities spend their money, and who benefits. This was mentioned by 8%;
  • Ensuring and knowing donations get to the end cause, mentioned by 7%;

One in 20 people felt there were too many charities in New Zealand.

Big ticks to charities' work

Half of the respondents felt that the strengths of the charitable sector were in the work done by charities – the assistance, help and support they provided, their ability to make a difference, give and do good.

“Comparison with other New Zealand sectors shows trust in charities is in the upper group of sectors measured - marginally ahead of the education sector and slightly lower than law enforcement, small businesses and the health sector,” the survey notes.

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