Canadian charities continue to enjoy high levels of trust, but there are signs that Canadians expect more from them, according to a study released Sunday.
Talking About Charities 2013 is the fifth edition of a public-opinion poll commissioned by The Muttart Foundation, a private foundation based in Edmonton. More than 3,800 Canadians participated in telephone interviews, leading to results that are considered accurate within 1.6%, 19 times out of 20.
It found that almost four in five Canadians said that they have a lot or some trust in charities, a figure that far exceeds the trust levels given to the federal government (45%), provincial governments (44%) and local governments (57%), as well as media (53%) and major corporations (41%).
But, the study also reveals there have been significant drops in the trust levels of some types of charities since it was last conducted in 2008. International development agencies dropped nine percentage points from the previous study, while churches dropped seven points and environmental charities five points.
The study also shows that charities are considered important by 93% of the population and 88% of Canadians believe charities generally improve our quality of life. At the same time, we continue to give charities low ratings for the degree to which they report on how donations are used, the impact of programs and charities' fundraising costs.
Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai, president of The Muttart Foundation, said, "Our role in commissioning this report is to provide an objective picture of the landscape in which charities operate. There are parts of that picture that some will like; there are others that clearly indicate the need for action."