voluntary sector

Raising Levels of Trust Across the Voluntary Sector

voluntary sector

8:45 - 16:30

Thursday 11 July 2019

Central London,

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only


This Forum will provide attendees with the opportunity to examine how voluntary sector organisations can build public trust in their organisations. Following The Charity Commission’s Statement of Strategic Intent 2018-2023, which outlines trust-building as the primary objective across the sector in the coming years, charities will strategise how to maximise trust in the interest of raising donations, ethical fundraising, attracting volunteers, transparency and maximum impact. Additionally, delegates will be given the opportunity to hear from voluntary organisations implementing successful strategies to build trust in their organisation.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Voluntary Sector. Job titles will include:

  • Chief Executives
  • Trustees
  • Policy Managers
  • Heads of Legal Compliance
  • Directors
  • Quality Practitioners
  • Directors of Engagement
  • Directors of Operations
  • Corporate Governance Managers
  • Heads of External Relations
  • Policy Officers
  • Compliance and Risk Managers
  • Heads of Volunteering
  • Directors of Communications
  • Fundraising Directors

This Forum is also open to Central Government to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Sarah Atkinson, Director for Policy, Planning and Communications, Charity Commission
  • Gerald Oppenheim, Chief Executive, Fundraising Regulator
  • Maria Nyberg, Deputy Director of Sector Support, Office for Civil Society, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) 
  • Roberta Fusco, Director of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group
  • Perry Maddox, Chief Executive, Restless Development
  • Kate Rees, Senior Impact Manager, NSPCC
  • Paul Buddery, Director of Strategy, Volunteering Matters
  • Lynn Cutress, Chief Executive, Redwings Horse Sanctuary
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Atul Patel, Academic Leader – Voluntary Sector Management, Cass Business School (invited)


Morning Keynote: Placing Public Trust as a Primary Statutory Objective for the Voluntary Sector

  • Outlining the next steps for raising public trust in charities following the release of the Charity Commission Statement of Strategic Intent 2018-2023, which places trust-building as a primary statutory objective for all charities
  • Judging the primary reasons behind declining public trust in charities as outlined in the Trust in Charities Report 2018 and how these negative trends can be reversed
  • Understanding that regulating the sector is not an end in itself, but that compliance with the law protects charities from potentially drastic impacts on the fulfilment of charity missions
  • Dealing with wrongdoing and harms in charities by being less reactive to events and more driven by identifying potential risks which could damage trust in the sector

Sarah Atkinson, Director for Policy, Planning and Communications, Charity Commission (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Ethical Fundraising and Building Donations – A Question of Public Trust

  • Setting out the work being done to build public trust in the sector by improving fundraising standards and increasing fundraising transparency
  • Exploring new June 2018 rules and guidance applying to the Code of Fundraising Practice which increase the openness and transparency required of online fundraising platforms, building trust to help encourage the public to fundraise in confidence
  • Building trust by ensuring that all fundraising is done in a legal, open, honest and respectful manner, as set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice
  • Providing extensive guidance for those working with children, volunteers and third parties to minimise the potential dangers and risks posed by this

Gerald Oppenheim, Chief Executive, Fundraising Regulator (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Establishing a Clear Action Plan to Build Public Trust in the Voluntary Sector

  • Responding to declining public trust in charities caused by a range of scandals across the sector, given that 45% of the public trust charities less over the past year
  • Rebuilding trust in the sector by providing more stringent regulation, more positive campaigning and acting to improve safeguarding for volunteers
  • Improving the quality of leadership and governance in charities, such as by increasing accountability of leadership and improving leadership diversity and inclusivity
  • Putting in place mechanisms by which charities must improve their transparency when it comes to fundraising, expenditure, campaigning and goals

Maria Nyberg, Deputy Director of Sector Support, Office for Civil Society, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session

Delegates will be able to submit live questions and discussion points to speakers on the day via the Sli.do mobile application, which can be downloaded on the day. This will enable closer exchanges and discussion between attendees and speakers. 


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Providing Honest Reporting, Risk-Disclosures and Progress on Goals to Build a Trusted Charity

  • Reporting extensively on NSPCC’s progress towards their mission, their remuneration and their gender pay gap and running a risk traffic light system
  • Outlining the charity’s outcome framework used to track and report how well we are progressing towards the critical outcomes we want to achieve for children
  • Providing examples of how NSPCC have refocused their priorities based on this analysis, in order to achieve more and build more trust from donors and public
  • Carrying out extensive further thinking to understand and report our impact even better as a central means towards building even further trust in the charity

Awarded ‘Highly Commended’ for the Building Public Trust Award for Charities at the 2018 PWC Building Trust Awards

Kate Rees, Senior Impact Manager, NSPCC (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Building a Supported and Well-Loved Brand by Constantly Emphasising Positive Charity Impact

  • Building public popularity in the charity by taking care to demonstrate and show Redwings mission-based impact and by striving to be ethical leaders in the sector
  • Providing quarterly newsletters which go into extensive detail on every success story that Redwings has had in the prior months, highlighting the value of their work
  • Promoting examples of successful support given by the charity as regularly as possible to build a positive image of the charity at all times
  • Merging with other charities, such as SWHP in Wales, to extend the reach of Redwings and spread positive impact across new regions
  • Rising 34 places – the second highest rise of all UK charities – in the 2018 Charity Brand Index, which is an accurate measure of public trust and perceptions of charities

Lynn Cutress, Chief Executive, Redwings Horse Sanctuary (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Becoming the UK’s Leading Volunteering Charity by Recognising that Civic Trust is Central to Volunteer Numbers

  • Drawing in huge numbers of volunteers through a strategy that ensures public perceptions of the organisation and volunteering impact are maximised
  • Ensuring that every single volunteer has the best possible experience by enabling their voices to be heard every day and enabling feedback on their actions
  • Demonstrating results that volunteers make, such as the Grandmentors programme which shows that 73% of volunteers felt they had a great sense of purpose and 91% felt they had a positive involvement
  • Becoming the leading UK volunteering charity through this focus on demonstrating positive results, with more than 30,000 volunteers in over 180 programmes

Paul Buddery, Director of Strategy, Volunteering Matters (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Understanding the Role of Transparent Finance and Data to Building Trust in Charities

  • Showing that transparency and accurate reporting of financial activities to the public, funders and regulators is central to building trust across the sector
  • Following the specific reporting codified in the Statement of Recommended Practice to reduce the risk of mistakes
  • Avoiding any potential damage to a charity’s brand and pubic perception by complying with strict guidelines on fundraising data, financial data, beneficiary data and employee data
  • Ensuring that financial competence is not just a priority for finance leaders but for everyone in a charity so that voluntary organisations can be trusted to avoid issues such as insider fraud

Roberta Fusco, Director of Policy and Engagement, Charity Finance Group (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Building Trust Quickly in the International Development Sector

  • Overturning worrying trends in trust in the overseas development sector by supporting organisations to be more effective in making the case for the achievement of their goals, given a cynicism about the positive impact of these charities
  • Responding to the 2018 Trust in Charities and the Overseas Development Sector, which shows the overseas development charities have the second lowest trust levels across the sector
  • Generating the Aid Attitude Tracker (AAT) which studies public attitudes towards charities working in development, poverty and aid so that organisations can better understand trust perceptions
  • Emphasising the importance of public trust for the sector in creating additional opportunities through greater donation levels and volunteer opportunities
  • Building the Narrative Project, which works to build public trust in the sector by communicating four themes; independence, shared values, partnership and progress

Claire Godfrey, Head of Policy and Campaigns, BOND (invited)


Case Study: Taking Steps Towards Radical Transparency to Gain Trust in an International Development Charity

  • Carrying out a radical transparency project, through a process of ‘dynamic accountability’, ensuring transparency is a two-way exchange of information where more voices are brought into leadership, governance and management
  • Publishing the salaries of every Restless Development staff member and full details of the charity’s ethical fundraising framework
  • Releasing the reports of every global board of trustees meeting, in addition to every policy manual and declaration of interest so that donors are fully aware of operational proceedings
  • Launching A Big Conversation, which asks young people to lead new strategic ideas via a youth strategy team which has led a global consultation reaching 64 countries
  • Building a Youth-Power Model, which combines data-driven accountability, high-level youth advocacy and highly local campaigns to drive forward the organisations messages

Awarded the Transparency Award at the 2017 Annual BOND Awards

Perry Maddox, Chief Executive, Restless Development (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Driving High-Quality Research Into Trends in Voluntary Sector Trust

  • Placing NFP Synergy at the heart of researching trends and driving advice for building public perceptions and opinions of charities
  • Developing the Charity Awareness Monitor, which provides a unique insight into how the public view individual charities
  • Understanding the importance of valuable insights and data on public trust for developing better marketing, policy, campaigning and fundraising practices
  • Finding in the January 2018 Trust in Charities Research Report that charities are less trusted than police, school, armed forces and the healthcare sector, to the detriment of donations and the achievement of goals in the sector

Bijal Rama, Senior Researcher, NFP Synergy (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Building Public Trust through Honest and Open Reporting

  • Reporting extensively and effectively on the charity’s strategy, achievements and methods in order to be fully transparent and provide the public with as much detail as possible
  • Generating a report on the theme of One Courageous Community, which outlines RNLI’s extensive work through a range of case studies demonstrating the impact of their work
  • Building trust by emphasising the sustainability of RNLI’s work through reporting and taking care to show long term respect of their community and environment
  • Capturing the relationship between the charity’s core purpose, social role and linking this to fundraising so that positive trust levels translate into higher donations

Awarded Winner of the ‘Excellence in Reporting in Charities’ Award at the 2016 and 2017 Building Public Trust in Reporting Awards

Darren Spivey, Head of Financial Governance, RNLI (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change


Public trust in charities and voluntary sector organisations are at their lowest level since 2005, according to the 2018 Trust in Charities Report by The Charity Commission. Average public trust in charities have fallen to 5.5/10 in 2018 from 6.7/10 in 2014, with 45% saying that their trust in voluntary sector organisations has decreased over the past year. This constitutes the highest yearly decrease in public trust across the sector since records began, with drastically negative implications on the likelihood of the public to donate, volunteer and support charities to achieve their goals. For example, 41% of those who have lost trust in charities say they donate less as a result.

Raising public trust in voluntary sector organisations is therefore fundamental to the achievement of missions and goals in the sector. The Charity Commission, in recognising this, placed building public trust across the sector as their primary objective in their Statement of Strategic Intent 2018-2023, released in October 2018. This recognises that building public trust must be at the heart of the strategic direction of all charities. This means a greater focus on accountability, transparency, ethical fundraising and swiftly dealing with any wrongdoing or harm.

Building public trust in voluntary organisations therefore requires careful planning and a precise strategy. Given the breadth of strategies and possibilities towards achieving this, it is now vital that the sector comes together to drive forward successful approaches, working to build trust in the interests of achieving missions across the sector.

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