A recent report by New Philanthropy Capital shows that although the public view of charities is positive, many are uneasy about the way money is spent, especially on executive pay.

Do people inside charities feel the same? Particularly those with their ear to the ground, working to understand and influence external opinion?

We asked charity comms people what they think. And this is what they said…

Positive or negative?

  • All are (generally or very) positive about charities
  • 81% are positive about the charity they work for (the rest are neutral)
  • 93% say they feel confident that the charity they work for is having a positive impact

‘Many charities do vital work in helping to support the most vulnerable members of society who would otherwise not receive the help they need from the state…’

‘My colleagues are passionate about what they do… That makes for an amazing working environment…’


  • 62% say their organisation’s reputation hasn’t been affected be critical media coverage of the sector (such as the CEO salary furore), though 31% aren’t sure

‘Not aware of any direct impact, but aware there is a common view of ‘fat cat’ charities…’


  • 87% say they fundraise for or give money to other charities
  • Far fewer (31%) do for the charity they work for

‘They already take too much of my time and energy…’

‘I give them enough of my time during working hours…’


  • Half do not have concerns about their organisation akin to those held by the public
  • But half do; of whom…
  • 50% are concerned about the amount spent on executive salaries
  • 30% are concerned about the amount spent on running costs
  • And 20% are concerned about the way spending is managed in general

Others commented:

‘Doesn’t seem to be much strategic thinking behind expenditure…’

‘Concern about the arbitrary way in which money is spent…’

‘Concern about trustee board decisions…’

‘General concerns regarding the professional qualifications and relevant experience that senior managers have…’

It can be difficult at times to remain focused on communicating positive impact externally, while feeling frustrated about internal financial, operational or strategic matters (and aware of public unease). It would be interesting to know whether people in this situation have expressed their concerns and highlighted the reputational risks, and if so, what the response has been.

We’ll be coming back to this issue, so get in touch if you have thoughts to share.

In the meantime, we salute all you dedicated charity comms bods who remain passionate, positive, committed and upbeat. Your work is essential and you continue to inspire.