Survey of factors affecting charitable giving

Muscovites trust charities that provide a website and are open about their finances

Moscow 22 April 2015


The endowment fund Istoki and the Donors’ Forum have made a video of a survey in which 100 people took part. The aim was to find out factors Muscovites took into account before donating to a charity.

65% of those surveyed judged the trustworthiness of a fund by the availability of a website and openness about what it spent its money on. They thought it important that the ethos of an organisation that received donations should be based on the principles of transparency, publicity and effectiveness.

18% of those taking part valued knowing the chief executive or staff of the organisation personally.   Only in that case were they confident that their money would end up in the right hands. 9% of the respondents were ready to donate without additional information. 5% trusted well known funds with a good reputation and thought it advisable for charities to enlist the support of influential people. Only 3% paid attention to media publicity about funds.

‘Funds’ websites should provide up to date and trustworthy information about their activities and be user friendly. However, it was no less important to present the fund in a positive light by providing well designed graphics and high quality informative text. The wish to know representatives of the fund personally was totally understandable. It was psychologically reassuring to donate one’s resources to “trustworthy” people and avoid fraudsters. Despite the small number of respondents mentioning publicity in the media, the importance of that factor should not be underrated. Exposure in respected publications frequently creates links between funds and major donors’ said the executive director of Istoki, Ekaterina Gerus.

The executive secretary of the Donors’ Forum, Natalya Kaminarskaya, added that the survey underlined the need for the work of NGOs to be transparent. ‘I do not tire of repeating that publicity, transparency and accountability are the foundation of cooperation between grant recipients, donors, partners, the public, the authorities and the media. NGO staff should talk about their work as a matter of routine in whatever way it becomes possible to do so’, said Natalya Kaminarskaya.

Specialists advise potential donors to examine the foundation charter and reports on a fund’s site, find contact details and a description of its projects, and also not to be shy of telephoning a fund to obtain further information. In the case of street collections, volunteers should be asked for the address of the fund and the name of its chief executive.

Earlier on Istoki had asked Muscovites if they were ready to help in any way and found that people preferred to participate in the work of charities personally.

Author: Olga Cherepanova

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