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Charity Commission annual research on public trust and trustees’ experience of their role

Published : 20/09/22 | Categories: News |

The Charity Commission has published its annual research on public trust in charities and what trustees think about their duties and public expectations

Following a post-pandemic rise last year, overall trust in public institutions has fallen. In this context, public trust in charities has held up, relative to other institutions. Public expectations of charities remain consistent; it remains vital for charities to respond to four key expectations.

  • That a high proportion of charities’ money is used for charitable activity
  • That charities are making the impact they promise to make
  • That the way they go about making that impact is consistent with the spirit of ‘charity’
  • That all charities uphold the reputation of charity in adhering to these

The research shows that the public continues to believe that charities are an important part of society, provided that they meet four consistent expectations. Trust in charities remains higher than in most other parts of society – a reflection of the value the public thinks that charities can bring and have brought throughout the Covid pandemic. There is, however, a stubbornly persistent scepticism regarding how charities use their money and how they behave. This was true before the pandemic and is still true now.


Research found that charities are continuing to respond and adjust to the post-pandemic context.

Trustees’ understanding of their role and responsibilities has not changed since 2020. Most trustees are aware of key responsibilities, but there are some gaps around decision making and financial oversight. Most trustees continue to recognise the importance of taking public expectations into account and feel a collective responsibility to uphold the sector’s reputation.

WCVA will use the findings from the research to help shape the way we support charities in Wales.

You can read more about the research on the Charity Commission website (English only).

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