(February 12, 2021) Trust in charity groups and nonprofits has dropped 6%—from 54 to 48 since Proof Strategies began doing the CanTrust Index in 2016, joining media, government, and small/medium business in a general downward spiral of trust in institutions. Only large corporations showed trust improvement, albeit from a low of 21 in 2016 to a high of 27 in 2021.
According to Proof Strategies, “the survey of 1,517 Canadians was conducted January 8-20, 2021 and follows a year of pandemic disruption and deaths, racial inequalities coming to a boiling point and an economic recession affecting millions of workers.”
And In a year when the subject of racism and social inequity has come to the forefront of our social debate, on a question of what institutions Canadians trust to handle inequity in a way that is consistent with Canadian values, charity groups ranked last along with private business—69 percent felt most trust in ordinary citizens like myself, 67 per cent felt the federal government, 66 per cent felt the provincial government, 63 per cent felt the media, charity groups and private businesses were ranked equally at 56 per cent.
Lower income households see charities at 53 per cent for ability to handle inequity whereas high income Canadian households see it at 62 per cent.
“Our survey is a reminder that the pandemic is having uneven effect on people, with lower income Canadians carrying more weight,” said Bruce MacLellan, President & CEO of Proof Strategies. “It will make them less trusting in general and that includes anyone offering support. Dialogue and discussion are essential.”
“I am both surprised and disappointed that charities ranked at the bottom, along with private businesses, in being viewed as important in helping to address the critical issues of racism and social equity,” says Paul Alofs, former CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, “It appears Canadians see the issues around social equity as being primarily personal responsibility and legislative-governmental responsibility.”
“I’m hesitant to guess what the survey respondents perceive about charities and their role in responding to racism and inequity,” says Malcolm Burrows, Head, Philanthropic Advisory Services, Scotia Wealth Management. “But a worrying issue for charities is the decline in the number of regular donors … [the] corresponding increase in the average value of donations and the creation of major gift culture. This variance in charity confidence by income level parallels the decline in the number of donors over the past 30 years, especially at lower income levels. I’m concerned this … may indicate how deeper societal divisions are affecting confidence in charities.”
“As charities focus on their own mission and impact, maybe it’s time for all in the charitable sector to think about how social equity could also become part of every organizations vision, mission and values,” says Alofs. “The charitable sector should be and must become more of a force for social equity in Canada, no matter the cause they serve.”
The CanTrust Index also indicates support of charities is no longer a lead driver in making a company or brand more trustworthy. Canadians saying having values close to my own (67 per cent), a focus on employee safety and well-being (67 per cent), creating local employment opportunities (66 per cent) and open communication were all more important to them than supporting charitable causes (57 per cent).
“We track trust in charities as a sector each year and often add further questions based on events,” says MacLellan. “Equity and diversity are important, and we will soon be releasing information on trust in the Black Canadian community.”
How are Canadians are doing? September 28, 2020
Canadian’s trust in charities has dropped 6% since May September 9, 2020