Jill Halford & Neil Sherlock at NPC: “A growing mistrust and scepticism of organisations, experts and leaders has become a defining feature of recent times, causing many to question established truths that they’ve traditionally held dear. Against a backdrop of increasing volumes of data and commentary, amplified by social media, and the rise of ‘fake news’, it has become much harder for the public to both know who the experts are and to trust them to get things right. This directly impacts many charities who are themselves experts in their field and rely on the public to listen to and respond to their advice. In an increasingly digitalised world, there’s a sense that it is harder to gain and retain trust. There are growing concerns among CEOs about the impact of social media on the level of trust in their industry.
A growing mistrust and scepticism of organisations, experts and leaders has become a defining feature of recent times.
The questioning of experts is underpinned by a pervading sense that many actors are driven by hidden or ulterior motives, perhaps making some people less willing to trust organisations and their leaders. The Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 finds that 60% of the UK public think ‘the system’ is failing. This is defined as feeling a sense of injustice, a lack of hope and confidence and a desire for change. There is an emerging view that everyone from politicians, to businesses to charities need to do more to explain what they do and how it benefits both individuals and wider society….Public polling for the Charity Commission showed that the overall level of trust and confidence in charities fell from 6.7 out of 10 in 2012 and 2014 to 5.7 in 2016. This is a trend that is also reflected in the Edelman Trust Barometer 2017. Meanwhile other studies suggest that trust is bouncing back.
…Trust is often an overlooked asset for charities. For many organisations, trust can typically only come on the agenda when things are going wrong. NPC’s State of the Sector research report Charities taking charge shows that nearly a third of charity leaders think a loss of trust in the sector would have no effect on their organisation. The research also finds a narrow association between trust and fundraising rather than taking a more holistic view to trust.
Trust is a fundamental prerequisite of effective human interaction and meaningful, constructive relationships.
But trust matters deeply to people, and so it should matter to the organisations that serve them. Trust is considered a fundamental prerequisite of effective human interaction and meaningful, constructive relationships. It is the ‘glue’ that binds society and the economy together. There is a clear need for all organisations to take a broader view of trust. While those charities that rely on fundraising may feel that they need to be more concerned with public trust than a philanthropic foundation, for example, trust impacts a charity in many ways. For example, people’s trust in an organisation can fundamentally shape their behaviour and actions towards it. This can include trusting an organisation with your data and personal information, being more willing to collaborate and engage, and listening and acting on advice and expertise.
Trust is a powerful asset for organisations in four specific ways:
- trust drives performance;
- trust allows organisations to be true to themselves;
- trust can help win round stakeholder scepticism; and
- trust can put organisations on the front foot in a crisis that will inevitably happen at some point, positioning them in a better place to recover.
All four of these should resonate with charities as they seek to deliver greater impact in line with their values and ethos….(More).