With public trust in NGOs on the decline in the Czech Republic, a number of initiatives and campaigns have launched in the past year aimed at improving the sector’s profile and building better relationships with donors.
Figures from the Public Opinion Research Centre show that declining trust levels have been particularly apparent since 2015/6, with 47% of people overall saying they mistrusted NGOs in 2015, rising to 51% in 2017 and 53% in 2018.
According to the For Easy Giving coalition, which focuses on developing relationship fundraising to address this issue, charities are starting to change their approach to better engage donors, moving away from the traditional ask for support to a greater focus on relationship building.
For Easy Giving’s Jan Gregor said:
“Non-profits have become aware of the benefit of change from the classic fundraising approach of “help us” to the new, modern one of “join us”. By engaging people, they not only get donors, but they also increase public trust, so a developing trend appears to be the integration of programme, fundraising and communication activities and searching for activities with mutual value.”
“Although only a few Czech NGOs are truly adopting this integrated way of thinking so far, such as Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, Greenpeace, and those connected through our coalition, we are seeing NGOs becoming more willing to work on their accountability and communications to increase the public’s trust in them.”
A 2017-18 campaign by Friends of the Earth CZ, entitled ‘In every heart is a piece of wilderness’ and asking people to pledge to save areas of wilderness in the Czech Republic, saw 50,000 sign ups and 770 new donors in three weeks, resulting in 360 new direct debits after seven months. 2018 also saw the country’s first Charitable Will Month (pictured) take place across September and October to encourage more people to leave legacies.
As a result, donations are growing, both from individuals – particularly online – and corporations, while charitable wills are also starting to rise.
There is also an increasing willingness to cooperate among organisations, with the For Easy Giving coalition saw an increase in membership last year. In addition, For Easy Giving and Foundation Nonprofits.cz initiated a network of PR and communication professionals to share best practice in dealing with lack of public trust in NGOs, while a number of other groups including Glopolis “Měj se k světu”, a coalition of non-profit platforms and organisations, also joined forces to form a network that aims to raise the profile of the sector.