Report: Trust in NGOs down to five year low

The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer has registered a five year low for NGOs.

Global trust in non-governmental organisations has fallen amid concerns they have become too money focused.

NGOs remain the most trusted of government, NGOs, media and business, across the 27 countries surveyed, but trust fell in these organisations across board with the exception of government.

Three major airline crashes, the Ebola outbreak, data breaches and banking scandals have been central to this decline.

“There’s a feeling that NGOs are now acting too much like business. They’re too focused on fundraising and the money,” Ed Williams, chief executive of Edelman UK and Ireland, said at the launch of the public relations firm’s 15th annual trust survey, Reuters reported.

The survey of about 33,000 respondents found concern that NGOs were too focused on money, losing touch with the public, using public funding poorly, corrupt, or incompetent.

Discontent with NGOs’ ability to drive change in China and to tackle energy issues have also contributed to the fall from 66% to 63%.

“NGOs were a rocket ship going up but we are now seeing their descent,” said Edelman President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Edelman. “The NGO sector is seen as important enough to take seriously and judge if it is performing or not.”

The survey found less trust in business, with 57 percent trust compared with 59 percent last year, while 51 percent trusted the media, down from 53 percent.

Government was the only one of four institutions to record a slight rise in trust, which edged up to 48 percent from 45 percent, but remained the least trusted institution globally.

This rise was driven by improvements in 16 countries, including India which jumped to become the second most trusted country from fifth in the list after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office last May.

The United Arab Emirates topped the record small list of six countries to score 60 percent or more in the barometer. The others were Indonesia, China, Singapore and the Netherlands.

Japan was bottom of the list, trusted by 37 percent, and globally the overall trust index was down one percentage point from the previous year at 55 percent.

The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer can be downloaded here.