Trust for Australia’s charities at highest level in six years

December 2, 2016

Trust for Australia’s charities at highest level in six years; annual research report

Royal Flying Doctor Service ranks number one, for sixth consecutive year 
The reputation of Australia’s leading charities have recovered after two years of losing ground. Trust toward the sector by Australians is at the highest levels ever recorded since 2011, according to the 2016 Charity Reputation Index by research consultants, AMR.
Released this week, the annual index shows that more than half of Australia’s 40 largest, most recognisable charities saw a significant increase in reputation scores. The overall charity index average increased 3.9 points, crossing the threshold from ‘strong’ in 2015 to ‘excellent’ this year, with the top 20 showing reputation scores better than the best ranked corporates in Australia.  
For the sixth year in a row top honours went to Royal Flying Doctors Service with an impressive score of 96.9 out of possible 100 points, showing how providing a lifesaving service that addresses the needs of vulnerable outback communities resonates strongly with Australians.
The annual Charity Reputation Index surveys Australians[1] to measure the overall reputation of the country’s 40 largest charities and ranks them accordingly using a scoring system. The measurement also includes a range of dimensions such as Services, Innovation, Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Leadership and Cost Management. 
AMR’s Managing Director Oliver Freedman said the raw scores used to measure and rank charity reputation indicate that the sector has shown a marked improvement in trust and respect in the eyes of Australians compared to last year.
“The results this year are a clear indication that Australians still have an immense trust for the charity sector despite continued global economic uncertainty, driven recently by Brexit and the US election result,” he said.  “Charities such as Royal Flying Doctor Service continue to top the index as they have an authentic and sincere message and service, which resonates with Australians and helps the high level of trust felt towards them.”
Freedman said the Royal Flying Doctor Service ranked first across all the individual measurements of Services, Innovation, Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Leadership and Cost Management.  It is the first time a charity has ranked first across all these dimensions. 
“The RFDS has now ranked first for the sixth year running.  The consistent level of trust, admiration and respect highlights the ongoing  emotional attachment  felt by Australians and the fact the Service was ranked first across all reputation categories speaks volumes for the organisation’s solid foundation,” said Freedman.
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia CEO Martin Laverty said: “No matter where you are in country Australia, if you’re injured or ill, you can trust the Flying Doctor to help. The 1,300 staff of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and the thousands of volunteers who support our work with donations, will be pleased to see the AMR Charity Reputation survey demonstrate this enduring trust. Ultimately, our reputation is only as good as the care we provide to the next country Australian who calls for Flying Doctor help.”
However, Freedman also commented that despite the overall lift, there are several charities that have been unable to rise with the tide of positivity.
“Interestingly despite the ranking declines none of the charities saw significant decline in overall reputation score,” said Freedman . “This clearly indicates that merely having a stable reputation score is not good enough to maintain your ranking in a sector where competition for donations is fierce.”
This year the bottom-ranked charities saw much larger improvements than their top-tier peers.  While still ranked within the bottom tier, the four environmental charities have also seen their best improvements since 2011.  Although Greenpeace is still ranked 40th it has closed the gap compared to the charities ranked 31 to 40.
The increased focus on mental health has shown to be helping the charities that operate in this part of the sector, with Beyond Blue consistently in the top five, and new entrant Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation sitting with the more traditional top tier charities.    
After two years, Salvation Army’s score is back to levels seen in 2012, however its rank is seven places lower than in 2012, indicating it has not fully recovered relative to other charities from the significant decline seen in 2014.
AMR is part of WPP AUNZ, Australasia’s leading marketing content and communications group
For more information contact:   Rebecca Tilly, WPP AUNZ PR, ph: +61 410 501 043