Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Confidence in Charities Remains at Contemporary Lows According to Brookings Report

A report issued by the Brookings Institution finds that Americans' confidence in charities has not recovered from low levels reached after the American Red Cross Liberty Fund controversy in the wake of 9/11.  Authored by Paul C. Light and based on a survey conducted on behalf of the Organizational Performance Initiative at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the report made the following findings based on responses in March 2008:

Confidence in Charitable Organizations:  34 percent of Americans stated they have "not to much" confidence in charitable organizations or "none at all," essentially equal to the percentage with that response in September 2002; responses for Americans who had a "great deal" (16 percent) or a "fair amount" (48 percent) of confidence in charitable organizations also remained essentially unchanged from September 2002 although there was some variation in the intervening period

Helping People:  only 25 percent said charitable organizations did "very good" in helping people, a drop of 9 percent from October 2003

Spending Money:  70 percent stated that charitable organizations waste "a great deal" or a "fair amount" of money, an increase of 10 percent since October 2003

The report concludes that the surveys suggest three options for rebuilding confidence in charitable organizations: improving administrative systems to manage money wisely; promoting the charitable sector's commitment to helping people, as opposed to just leaving it to individual groups to promote themselves; and demonstrating progress toward solving the problems that marginalize certain segments of society.

(hat tip: Tax Prof blog)


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