Public trust and confidence in charities – survey results

The following is from the Charities Commission

Earlier this year, the (former) Charities Commission asked an external research agency, UMR, to measure public trust and confidence in charities.  Similar surveys were run in 2008 and 2010.  You can read the full results (and earlier survey results) on our website, but here is a summary of what UMR found, and how they ran the survey:

·         Online “opt-in” survey

·         2,000 respondents

·         Run late March ̶early April 2012

·         Data weighted by age, gender and region

·         Margin of error 2.2%


Trust and confidence in charities
The survey found that 44% of respondents had a high level of trust and confidence in charities, down by 11% since 2010, and 14% since 2008.

Publicity about charities’ fundraising and easier access to information about charities is likely to have influenced public perceptions about charities.  Views may also have been influenced by the economic climate, and a shift in support to organisations working to assist recovery in Christchurch. 

Personal experiences with charities a key driver of trust
Respondent’s personal experiences of charities were overwhelmingly positive. 

Ninety-two per cent of respondents who had received services from a charity in the previous twelve months said they would trust the charity again in the future, 90% said they had been treated fairly by the charity, and 88% said they would support it in the future.

Donation levels
The number of people reporting they donated more than $250 in the 12 months leading up to the survey increased to 34%, up from 32% in 2010, and 26% in 2008.

Respondents said that what most influenced them to donate to a charity was that:  “They work towards an end cause that is important to me.”

NOTE: Data from the Charities Register shows that over the past three calendar years, donations and koha given to the 25,500 registered charities have risen and fallen again, from $868m in 2009, to $1.03b in 2010, then to $885m in 2011.

Involvement with charities
Respondents said they were most commonly involved with “culture and recreation organisations such as arts, culture and sports clubs”, with 40% of saying they were involved with this type of organisation, up from 32% in 2010, and 35% in 2008.

The general type of organisation to which respondents were most likely to donate has shifted during the last 12 months to those providing services and support to Christchurch (47%).  Support for every other type of organisation has declined in favour of these charities. 

Street collections most favoured way of donating
The most common way of donating is still through street collections (51%), although this method also showed a decrease of 6% since the previous survey.

Awareness of the Charities Register as a source of info about charities
The survey showed a significant increase in public awareness of the former Charities Commission (up from 57% in 2008, to 80% in 2012), and that awareness of the Charities Registration Number had increased from 28% in 2008 to 41% in 2012.


Not-for-profit – Giving Survey Results

(Originally posted May 2010)

A few weeks ago I decided to run a poll/survey to see who supports charities and what they support; the results aren’t that surprising to me given I have been working within this sector for a number of years.

I thought I’d share the results with you; if you’re working in this sector you’re more than welcome to use and share this information. It may help you better target when looking at supporter acquisition and retention.


Selecting a Charity

How do you select a charity to support? With so many worthwhile causes, what criteria do you use to make your choice? 

How did you select the charity?

Personal issue                                    29%

Family Involvement               23%

Issue close to heart                   41%

Other                                          7%   


What area does the charity you support work in


Family                                                14%           

Children                                             11%

Health                                                19%

International Welfare (Aid)                 33%

Societal Change                                14%

Other                                                   9% 


What support do you give?


Financial                                             51%

Time (volunteer)                                 19%

Goods                                                  9%

Services                                             13%

Other                                                   8% 


How often do you give support?


Weekly                                               19%

Monthly                                              28%

Quarterly                                             6%

Annually                                            44%

Other                                                  3% 


If you give financial support how much would you typically give per year?


Less than $100                                  48%

$100-$200                                        17%

$200-$300                                          5%

$300-$500                                          3%

$500-$700                                          0% 

$700-$1000                                        4%

$1000-$2000                                      8%

More than $2000                               15% 



Where is the charity you support based?


New Zealand                                      49%

Australia                                              3%

Pacific                                                 3%

Asia                                                     0%

USA                                                   24%

UK                                                      3%

Other                                                   7%

Unknown                                            11% 





Under 15                                             2%

15-18                                                  2%

18-25                                                  5%

25-30                                                  7%

30-35                                                 16%

35-40                                                 12%

40-49                                                 23%

49-55                                                 19% 

55-65                                                 11%

65+                                                     3% 




Female                                               53%

Australia                                            47% 


Marital Status


Single                                                33%

Married/De-facto                               57%

Divorced                                             1%

Never Been Married                            9%




No Children                                       32%

1-2                                                    27%

2-3                                                    24%

3-5                                                    14%

More than 5 children                           3% 


Race/Country of Origin


NZ European                                      47%

NZ Maori                                             9%

Pacific Islander                                     2%

Asian                                                 13%

American/Canadian                            11%

UK                                                      9%

Other                                                   9%


Usual Country of Residence


NZ                                                     78%

Australia                                             5%

Pacific                                                3%

USA/Canada                                      5%

UK                                                      6%

Other                                                  3%




Unemployed                                        2%

Employed Part-time                          13%

Employed Full-Time                           33%

Self-Employed                                   27%

Company Director                             17%

Retired                                                6%

Other                                                  2%




Some respondents indicated that they would like to give more however their own personal situation precluded them from doing so. Others indicated that lack of feedback as to where support went, what it was used for was making them rethink their charitable contributions to organisations. There were a high number of people who said they felt duty bound to give to others who were less fortunate, and others who said it was almost a Kiwi thing to support charities or not-for-profit groups working in the community.


  1. Survey conducted using Twitpoll, emailed questionnaire, personal interviews
  2. Survey conducted May 2010 
  3. Survey Sample 120 (Total Respondents)
  4. Margin of error +/-4%
  5. More on NZ Charity Sector – Charities Commission


Millennial Donors


After reading the opening paragraph on KANTER’S POSTEROUS I couldn’t help but think “isn’t that what most people look for when approached to give?” 

The para is “While the Millennial generation has often been characterized as wired always online, or texting addicts, the Millennial Donor Report discovers  that the key motivators to giving are trust, being asked by a friend, and how much they care about the cause.” 

What makes millenials (those born between 1980 and 2000) any different to anyone else? Sure, they’re more tech savvy (perhaps), they’re early adopters (perhaps) – but are they any different in how and why they give to you and me? 

Background on the survey to give some perspective 


“For the 2011 Millennial Donor survey, Achieve and Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates (JGA) partnered with seven institutions. Each institution was provided a unique online survey link and the survey questions were identical across all partner institutions. The online survey was targeted at partner constituents between the ages of 20-35. The final findings from this survey represent responses from 2,953 survey participants age 20-35. Survey responses received from individuals outside the specified age category where segmented and omitted from the final survey findings and results. 

“Survey partner institutions included four higher education institutions (university/college), one national fraternal organization, one arts organization, and one human service organization. All partner institutions promoted the survey online, in e-newsletters, through social media, and print between January 1, 2011, and February 28, 2011. The survey link was deactivated March 1, 2011. All survey data was compiled and analyzed in aggregate form.” 

I’m wondering too if some of the survey data is skewed by the demographics of the respondents. Just take a look at “93% of surveyed Millennials gave to nonprofit organizations in 2010” to see what I mean. 

If the survey population had been representative of the community at large I’m sure the figure would be different. 93% of the millennials I know don’t give to charity, it would be more like 40%. 

Another interesting stat from the survey is that “79% of respondents volunteered for organizations in 2010, with the primary obstacle to volunteering being a lack of time, which was noted by 85% of participants who did not volunteer in 2010. 45% of the non-volunteers said they simply weren’t asked to volunteer.” 

Again, I’d doubt that anywhere near 79% of the general millennial population volunteer. 

Here’s another titbit which to me goes further to show that the data is skewed as it’s not representative “Overall, the survey respondents are generous: 93% of them donated to nonprofit organizations in 2010, with 21% of them giving $1,000 or more over the course of the year, and another 16% giving between $500 and $1,000.” 

Sure the survey does give some interesting data, such as:

Not guessing how millenialls like to give “Millennials’ giving showed a preference for personal, traditional requests over any single technological approach. Fifty-seven percent of respondents gave in response to a personal ask and 30% gave after receiving a letter via the mail, compared to the 49% that gave online and the 25% that gave via email. However, this doesn’t necessarily reflect how they prefer to give.”


Source: Millennial Giving Report

It seems as though the survey group are still traditional in the way they like to know and how the like to be approached about giving.

We all know that with an aging population baby boomers may not be able to continue giving in the same way they have – and that we need to be attracting “millennials” now, but we need more accurate information as to their giving patterns, what they need to know and how they want to give.

Read the full report yourself and see what you think, is it accurate – quite likely, is it representative, not likely.

If there is some other data available that’s more representative I’d be keen to see it, and am sure many others will too.

© Nikita Buida |