Trust in philanthropy “to do what is right” declined from 15% last year to just 4% this year, according to Trust in Civil Society, a report released earlier this month by Independent Sector. The national online survey’s definition of “philanthropy” includes corporate philanthropy, private foundations, or high-net-worth individuals engaged in philanthropic efforts.

The 26% of respondents who had “low trust” in philanthropy cite several reasons for their distrust. Among them, as summarized in the report: “Money doesn’t go where they say it should/too much goes to overhead and salaries;” “Not in it for the right reasons;” “Heard about scandals or corruption;” and, “Political bias.”

“Distrusters” of both nonprofits and philanthropy are more likely to: “Have a lower formal education level;” “Have lower household incomes;” be “Registered to vote as a Republican;” “Live in a rural area;” and, “Be younger in age.”

The survey, Independent Sector’s second annual one on trust and American nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, was conducted in partnership with Edelman Data & Intelligence.

“Findings from this report highlight key learnings,” it concludes, “but they also raise important questions for nonprofits and philanthropy about next steps.”

Yes, they do, along with important questions about other things.

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