EDMONTON, Nov. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadian charities continue to enjoy high
levels of trust, but there are signs that Canadians expect more from
them, according to a study released today.
Talking About Charities 2013 is the fifth edition of a public-opinion poll commissioned by The
Muttart Foundation, a private foundation based in Edmonton. More than
3,800 Canadians participated in telephone interviews, leading to
results that are considered accurate within 1.6%, 19 times out of 20.
Field work was conducted by the Social Sciences Research Laboratories
at the University of Saskatchewan and the data analyzed by Imagine
Canada, the Toronto-based umbrella organization for charities.
Overall, almost four in five Canadians said that they have a lot or some
trust in charities, numbers that are consistent over the previous four
editions, released in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008.
The 79% trust figure far exceeds the trust levels given to the federal
government (45%), provincial governments (44%) and local governments
(57%), as well as media (53%) and major corporations (41%). Only small
businesses received a higher trust level at 81%.
Some types of charities are trusted more than others, the study shows.
Hospitals (86% trust level) and children's charities (82%) topped the
list, while environmental charities (67%), arts organizations (60%),
churches and other places of worship (59%) and international
development organizations (50%) scored significantly below the overall
level of trust in charities.
Of significance, according to Muttart Foundation executive director Bob
Wyatt, is that there have been significant drops in the trust levels of
some types of charities since the study was last conducted in 2008.
International development agencies dropped nine percentage points from
the previous study, while churches dropped seven points and
environmental charities five points.
Other findings related to trust include:
Trust in charities is highest amongst younger Canadians: 79% of those
between 18 and 24 years of age and 77% of those between 25 and 34 years
of age say they have some or a lot of trust in charities.
Trust in charity leaders has decreased and softened. Only 17% of
Canadians trust charity leaders a lot, a decrease of 10 percentage
points since the 2000 study. In total, 71% of Canadians in 2013 say
they have some or a lot of trust in charity leaders, compared to 77% in
2000 and 80% in 2004.
Again, however, trust in all kinds of leaders, other than nurses, has
decreased over the span of 13 years, and notably since the last survey
was conducted in 2008. These decreases are particularly noticeable for
religious leaders (down 14 percentage points to 63%), lawyers (down 10
percentage points to 62%), federal politicians (down eight percentage
points to 33%) and provincial politicians (down nine percentage points
The study also shows:
Charities are considered important by 93% of the population and 88% of
Canadians believe charities generally improve our quality of life.
While about two-thirds of Canadians believe charities understand their
needs better than government, and are better at meeting those needs,
the percentage of Canadians holding those views has declined about
seven percentage points over the last five years.
The percentage of Canadians who believe that charities are generally
honest about how they use donations is still high at 70%, but has
decreased from the 84% who felt that way in 2000. Similarly, only about
one-third of Canadians (34%) believe charities only ask for money when
they really need it, compared to 47% of Canadians who felt that way in
Canadians continue to give charities low ratings for the degree to which
they report on how donations are used, the impact of programs and
charities' fundraising costs.
Canadians remain supportive of charities engaging in business
activities. Almost nine in 10 (86%) think running a business is a good
way for a charity to raise money it can't obtain from other sources,
while eight in 10 (79%) think charities should be able to earn money
through any type of business activity as long as the proceeds go to the
cause. Almost two-thirds of Canadians (64%) say that charities should
not be taxed on business earnings as long as those earnings are used to
support the cause, although that number represents a decrease from 71%
who felt that way in 2006.
Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai, president of The Muttart Foundation, said:
"Our role in commissioning this report is to provide an objective
picture of the landscape in which charities operate. There are parts
of that picture that some will like; there are others that clearly
indicate the need for action.
"As an organization that seeks to help increase the ability of charities
to fulfil their mission, The Muttart Foundation hopes that the
conversations and introspection demanded by this report works to the
benefit of all charities, and those that count on them."
The full copy of Talking About Charities 2013, along with provincial breakdowns and other data are available on The
Muttart Foundation's website at www.muttart.org, under the "publications" tab.
SOURCE: The Muttart Foundation
For further information:
The Muttart Foundation
(780) 913-8881 (mobile)