January 31, 2018

Wise Giving Wednesday: Drop in Trust in Non-Profit Organizations in U.S.

For the past 18 years, Edelman, a global communications marketing firm, has produced a Trust Barometer that involves an online survey of over 33,000 people in 25 countries (1,150 per country) that, among other things, asks participants how much they trust institutions (nonprofits, business, government and media) to do what is right using a nine point scale. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer released in January 2018 shows that overall trust dropped to 43 percent in the U.S. which represents “the largest-ever recorded drop in the survey’s history among the general population.” 

In terms of trust in nonprofit organizations, among the adult (18 years or older) general population, the trust percentage dropped nine points from 58 percent in 2017 to 49 percent in 2018.  In terms of just the informed public (ages 25-64, college educated, significant media consumption, and in top 25% of household income), trust in nonprofits dropped even more - 22 points - from 73 percent in 2017 to 51 percent in 2018. 

Although the statistics for nonprofits were generally higher than those for business, government, and media, this still demonstrates a significant loss of confidence in nonprofits in the United States.  On the positive side, when U.S. participants were asked which institution is most likely to lead to a better future, nonprofits scored highest at 29 percent, followed by business 22 percent, government 15 percent, and media 8 percent. 

(For those seeking information on public trust in business, see the BBB Trust Sentiment Index℠ released in October 2017). 

While it may be challenging to determine all the major factors that led to the referenced drop in trust, we encourage donors to verify the trustworthiness of charities by visiting Give.org to identify which organizations meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.   

Video of the Week 

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Andrew Rosen, President, Angel Foundation (a BBB Accredited Charity) which works with adults with cancer and their families by reducing the financial strain of living with cancer through the organization's financial assistance program.  

Recent Reports 

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.   

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance