Sex scandals will not hurt charities as Britons pledge to keep giving - survey

by Meka Beresford | @mekaberesford | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 19 July 2018 19:44 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A donation box is displayed at an Oxfam store in Dalston in east London November 28, 2008. REUTERS/Simon Newman

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Four out of five Britons to give the same amount of money, or more, to good causes

By Meka Beresford

LONDON, July 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Charitable donations will not be hurt by a series of sex scandals that have rocked the sector this year, a YouGov survey said on Thursday, with four out of five Britons promising to give the same amount of money, or more, to good causes.

The future of aid appears bright, it said, as declining trust in charities was least severe among people under the age of 24 - with 35 percent trusting charities less over the last year - compared to a 54 percent fall among the over 55s.

"The next generation of donors are less affected by negative elements that erode trust; and indeed appear to be giving more," said Rob Alcroft, chief operating officer of Killer Creative, the marketing agency which commissioned the poll.

From Oxfam staff paying for sex in Haiti to Syrian women exploited in return for aid and the harassment of women in the head offices of global charities, humanitarians have been rattled by media coverage of sexual wrongdoing.

Nearly half of Britons surveyed by the regulatory Charity Commission earlier this year - just after the Oxfam scandal broke - said their trust in charities had fallen, compared to a third in 2016 and less than a fifth in 2014.

Save the Children UK said last week that it expected its income to fall by a sixth - 67 million pounds ($89 million) - this year after it withdrew from state funding amid claims of sexual misconduct by staff.

Oxfam also said it would cut operations due to a drop in funding after a sex abuse scandal saw it kicked out of Haiti.

"Scandals like this make me reconsider making donations to charity, or the types of charities that I donate to," said Sophie Stedman, 24, a former volunteer with Restless Development, a youth-led development agency.

"I feel that smaller, more local, charities are more transparent and are more accountable for their actions than global charities such as Oxfam."

But Oxfam and Save the Children remained among Britain's favourite 30 charities, the YouGov poll said, with MacMillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and Guide Dogs taking the top three spots.

(Reporting by Meka Beresford @mekaberesford, Editing by Katy Migiro. (Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit

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