The Royal Flying Doctor Service has confirmed its place as Australia’s most stable, robust and reputable charity, ranking first in the annual Charity Reputation Index for the seventh year running.
Announced this week, the 2017 Index - conducted each year by research consultants AMR in conjunction with the global Reputation Institute (RI) – also had St John’s Ambulance taking second place overall, for the second year in a row. Careflight ranked third for its overall reputation, in the first year the charity has been included in the survey.
The annual Charity Reputation Index surveys Australians to measure the overall reputation of the country’s 40 largest charities and ranks them using a scoring system. The measurement also includes a range of dimensions such as Services, Innovation, Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Leadership and Cost Management. It has been run by AMR and RI in Australia since 2011.
AMR’s Managing Director Maree Taylor said of the 2017 result: “It’s clear that Australians trust charities helping individuals with physical illness or emergency more than those servicing other sectors,” she said. “All three of these charities polled particularly well in the individual measurements of Services, Citizenship and Governance, with RFDS also polling well in Leadership, Workplace, Management and Innovation. It’s an outstanding result for all three, and particularly RFDS, and bodes well for the future reputation of this charitable sector.”
Charities related to looking after children also polled strongly this year; with Camp Quality ranking 5th, Starlight Children’s Foundation ranking 7th, CanTeen ranking 8th, and Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia 18th overall for their reputations.
Those assisting individuals with physical disabilities were also rated well by Australians, with Guide Dogs ranking 4th, and the Fred Hollows Foundation 6th overall.
Reputation Institute Australia & New Zealand Managing Director Oliver Freedman said the RFDS, Guide Dogs and Fred Hollows were the only three charities to rank in the top 10 across all seven years the Charity Reputation Index has been conducted.
“All three of these charities not only have extremely strong and stable reputations, but at the core of each are very secure perceptions around the services they deliver, and their authenticity. Australians consistently view them as reputable year in year out because of these perceptions,” he said.
Freedman also noted there has been a fall in reputation rank for both charities associated with Breast Cancer. The McGrath Foundation this year ranked 17th overall (dropping from 7th in 2016), and National Breast Cancer Foundation ranked 16th (ranked 5th overall in 2016) – the lowest ranking for both organisations since the Index started.
“This may suggest that public engagement with the cause may have weakened somewhat. However, with both still in the top 20, their overall reputations remain strong despite this fall in perceived reputation from last year,” Freedman explained.
Organisations that recorded the largest improvement in overall ranking this year include:
- WWF – rose eight places to rank 22nd
- Camp Quality – rose seven places to rank 5th overall, also improving its position in the individual measurements of Leadership, Service and Innovation
- Surf Life Saving – rose six places to rank 9th overall, entering back into the top 10 for the first time since 2014
Charities that experienced a fall in overall reputation ranking this year include:
- Headspace – fell 12 places to rank 23rd overall
- Salvation Army – fell eight places to rank 27th overall
- Greenpeace Australia fell one place to rank 40th in the index
“Our research shows that Australian charities still have a strong reputation, with certain sectors viewed as more reputable than others. However, this provides an opportunity for those organisations to re-engage with the public in relation to their cause and look at specific ways to build reputational strength in 2018,” AMR’s Taylor concluded.
 Data was collected from 18 October to 2 November 2017. A total of 7,431 respondents were interviewed as part of the study.