Global trust in NGOs has remained static overall in the past year, with 58% of people rating them as trustworthy, despite a rise in 16 international countries including all but one European market, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer.
The 20th annual trust and credibility survey, conducted by global insight and analytics consultancy Edelman Intelligence, covers a total of 28 markets, with 34,000+ respondents.
Out of the four institutions measured by the Edelman Trust Barometer, business and NGOs remain tied as the most trusted for the third year in a row globally (each at 58%), with a rise for both of just 1%, followed by government and media, which each scored 49%.
Trust in NGOs rose in all but one of the European markets included in the study, falling solely in Germany. In Europe, the Barometer data shows that trust in NGOs is highest in France and Spain and lowest in Russia, where it reaches only 25%. NGOs are ‘distrusted’ (where the trust rating is less than 50%) in Italy, the UK, Germany and Russia. However, Italy has seen a 5-point increase in trust and now stands at 49%.
Of the four institutions surveyed, NGOs are seen as the most honest and fair, and the only institution to be considered ethical, with a 31-point gap over government, and a 25-point gap over business. However, they are not considered competent, while the opposite is true for business, which ranks highest in this area, with 54-point edge over government as an institution that is good at what it does (64% vs. 10%).
Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, said:
“People’s expectations of institutions have led us to evolve our model for measuring trust. Trust today is granted on two distinct attributes: competence (delivering on promises) and ethical behaviour (doing the right thing and working to improve society). It is no longer only a matter of what you do—it’s also how you do it.”
For the first time this year, the Edelman Trust Barometer also asked respondents to tell it how well each institution is doing on a long list of issues that are challenging society. NGOs are seen to be doing best at: protecting the environment (48%), civil and human rights (47%), poverty, illiteracy, disease (45%). The areas identified as having most room for improvement are: transparency about funding, exposing corruption, avoiding becoming politicised, partnering with government, and partnering with business, with around a third of people thinking they are doing well in these areas.
The full report can be read at on the Edelman site.