Nonprofit Trust Drops 3% Survey Reveals (news)

Nonprofit news for June

Independent Sector Releases Survey On Nonprofit Trust 

Independent Sector has released its third annual survey on trust within the nonprofit and civil society sector. The findings show that nonprofits still benefit from strong public trust (56% of respondents say they trust nonprofits), making NPOs among the few social institutions that the majority of the public trust, along with small businesses and community members. However, the sector saw a statistically significant decrease of 3% in trust compared to 2020. The survey also found that education and financial wellbeing drive nonprofit trust, that purpose-driven integrity is essential, and that Gen Z is increasingly skeptical of the nonprofit sector. The survey fielded answers from 3,015 Americans and had a margin of error of +/- 2%.

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Rought Transcript

[00:00:00] George: This week on the nonprofit news feed for gosh, June 6th, June 6th, the week of June 6th, we were talking about some of the information coming out of the independent sector on a survey, a non-profit trust, as well as some other headlines related to themes that we’ve been covering Nick. How’s it going?

[00:00:18] Nick: It’s gone. Good, George.

[00:00:20] George: Doing all right. Just, I had a wedding last weekend of an in-law’s fun. Hadn’t been to a wedding for awhile. So good time to celebrate. Hopefully nobody got COVID.

[00:00:31] Nick: That’s good. TIS the site TIS the season for weddings.

[00:00:36] George: Yeah. weddings. weddings, and funerals. They go on, no matter what I’ll say that.

[00:00:41] Nick: That is true. But bring us back to the nonprofit news. We’ll start off with our first story, which comes from independent sector. Independent sector has released its third annual survey on trust within the non-profit and civil society sector. And the findings show that while nonprofits still benefit from strong.

[00:01:02] Trust where 56% of respondents say they still trust non-profits. This is actually a decrease of 3% in overall trust in nonprofits compared to 2020, there are a couple other really interesting findings within the report. One is that nonprofits were the strongest institution when it comes to public trust, beating.

[00:01:27] Legacy institutions like government, the media substantially that being said, there’s a couple of interests. Nuances and the data and the survey found that education and financial wellbeing drove non-profit trust. In fact, education level was the prime determinant more than any other demographic determinant of trust in non-profit organizations.

[00:01:53] They also found that gen Z is increasingly skeptical of the nonprofit sector, not having a negative. uh, perspective per se. But not having a positive one either. So the jury is still out on them when it comes to building that trust in non-profits as a social institution. But George, what were your takeaways from these really interesting and important survivors?

[00:02:19] George: yeah, just to start, I always try to find and understand the sample size. In this case, it is a U S general population of 3000 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2%. So any number you hear it’s like give or take a couple points. So that’s just important to put in mind. I think the differences based on age range, And rising generation being a touch more skeptical is in line, uh, overall positive in terms of this report that I look for is just look, we’re talking about people’s trust across businesses, government, media, and nonprofits, these four major pillars of information in our society and nonprofits continue to be at the top of it.

[00:03:05] Overall trust erosion, just seemingly undercutting everybody. However, nonprofits just play this incredible role with regard to communicating valuable information at a time of mistrust. And so I, you know, I always like seeing that in terms of nonprofits being up there, but the overall number, I believe slipped 3% for nonprofits, right.

[00:03:28] Nick: It did. Yeah. The overall number. Crease 3%. However, it was still high at 56%. And the only other social institution that was rated that high in the survey were small businesses and just local communities and community of members. So in terms of our social institutions, nonprofits are still the highest, but yes did slip 3%.

[00:03:55] George: I’d say the other piece that I pulled out here is the biggest differentiating demographics. Characteristic is college non-college so more highly educated individuals in this particular survey, uh, were, uh, at a higher likelihood to be trusting the social impact sector, nonprofits and philanthropy.

[00:04:17] Nick: That’s an interesting one to me. And I think it goes. I think it’s interesting because a lot of nonprofits, particularly those that focus on social welfare, uh, might be helping folks in poverty or who may not have had the ratty opportunity to go to higher education. So maybe an interesting dichotomy between.

[00:04:44] The folks who might be funding contributing, running, and building non-profits versus beneficiaries uh, potential beneficiaries of those services. And of course that’s a broad oversimplification, but to me that was, that was somewhat. George, what do you make of gen Z being more skeptical of nonprofits as an institution?

[00:05:07] The, the actual data show that they were more trusting of, uh, crowdfunding, uh, type campaigns and a little bit more enthusiastic about, uh, about donating, for example, to those games.

[00:05:22] George: Part of me is not surprised. Ultimately, rising generations tend to have higher levels of skepticism of institutions that pre-existed, that are run disproportionately sometimes by the other generation. And just, it’s like a natural curve of what goes. The rise in, in crowdfunding and crowdfunding philanthropy is it’s a personal frustration of mine because I don’t believe it is the most intelligent way to distribute funds for a public.

[00:05:49] Good. I think it’s the most popular, I think it’s the most social, I think it is near term, gratifying, longterm, even potentially destabilize. To say here’s how philanthropy should be done. Where as a massive crowd, smarter than an individual who studies a topic, there are times when the crowd is far smarter, but there are other times when, you know, maybe an organization that has got 10 employees doesn’t need $45 million in the span of four days.

[00:06:20] Maybe that’s a thing that you have to sort of balance. And I think, you know, it’s a pendulum, it’s a pendulum of a philanthropy that all, uh, Obviously, uh, come and go. And maybe the rising generation pro you know, like coming up, we’ll be like, wait a minute. We’ve seen this show too many times. And the only person who wins in crowdfunding consistently as a crowdfunding platform.

[00:06:41] Okay.

[00:06:42] Nick: That’s fair. I guess in turn, gen Z’s are, are skeptical. You are, and we are skeptical of gen Z, uh, over simplification again, but.

[00:06:53] George: Yeah, I mean, you also saw this in a macro around crypto, and obviously I’ve not shied away from being a fan of crypto philanthropy. However, it does also make that crowdfunding a lot easier. I cannot go understated the fact that millions and millions of dollars were sent to the Ukraine without the permission of the guiding powers that be to do so.

[00:07:16] And that’s, it feels very gratifying in the most. And you know, who who’s to say how, you know, 80 plus million is, is being, being used. And it was something that when you take away the middle people, institutions and controlling bodies in place, like you just get money to where you think it needs to go, and it will have different types of second order effects both positive and negative.

[00:07:46] Nick: Yeah, I think that’s, I think that’s that’s fair. Agree. All right, we’ll move on to our next story. And this comes from the hill and is a little bit more sobering. And the hill reports that data from the gun violence archive, which is a nonprofit has supported 233 mass shootings that have taken place so far this year in the United States.

[00:08:11] And this data comes amid the fallout. Several devastating shootings in New York, Texas, Oklahoma. And just with seems like, uh, increasing temperature in the country when it comes to, uh, gun violence. But what struck me about this? Wasn’t so much the gun violence as. As terrible as it is not something I’m surprised about sadly, but that the most definitive source on this is actually coming from a nonprofit and the gun violence archive is the go-to source for news organizations and researchers, uh, trying to assess.

[00:08:53] Gun violence and mass shootings in particular in the United States. So really interesting that a nonprofit is stepping up here and filling that void, uh, to provide the public with really vital information that for a long time, The government, for example, was barred from studying you know, government agencies were barred from studying the health effects of gun violence.

[00:09:15] So there was very, oh yeah, this is famously. That rule was lifted only within the past couple of years. But the CDC, I think it’s, the CDC wanted to do a research on gun violence and Congress specifically for beta in the allocation of. So there’s kind of a dearth of national data on gun violence and mass shootings.

[00:09:43] And the data is all over the place. But it seems that this nonprofit is really kind of DFR Tate of a source of truth on this.

[00:09:51] George: Yeah. I think getting back to definitely check this out. Gun violence, I’m embarrassed. I had never seen this nonprofit, but it’s a great model for showing how you can use data, information and honesty to hold up the mirror to society and say, this is what the numbers tell us about what’s going on.

[00:10:14] This isn’t. I mean, as much as you can say, it’s like, it’s not an agenda here. It’s just your, your numbers. You’re not doing well by any measure of what’s going on here. And the question is, is this, this, you know, what is, what is tolerant? You know, there’s twenty twenty one, six hundred and ninety two mass shootings.

[00:10:34] Is that tolerant of a society. I mean, it was tolerant then it was tolerant in 2020 with 610. Mass shootings. It was tolerant by our society in 2019, with 417 mass shootings. At what point, I wonder because the amount of mass shootings per year, it’s some sort of threshold. And this organization seems to be asking that direct question by holding the numbers up, uh, as well as other total incidents of guns and other pieces, but the mass shootings.

[00:11:10] Uh, particularly of importance because we made assault rifles legal in this country after having them be illegal throughout the nineties. And we simply let the clock expire on that permission. And now I know they’re debating slowly, whether or not that might change, but I think one take a look at gun violence,, to take a look at how your organization responds to your own cause and your backyard, not just gun violence, but how might data be used in this.

[00:11:37] way?

[00:11:38] To effect change and to hold up that social mirror.

[00:11:41] Nick: Absolutely George, that’s a great analysis and I have a little bit more. And formation on the law. I was talking about there’s a 19 66, 19 96 rule that passed through Congress, uh, called the Dickey amendment, which barred the CDC and other government research organizations from using funds to quote, to advocate or promote gun control, which was widely seen as essentially prohibiting any study of gun violence.

[00:12:08] Or gun sales, what have you at the federal level, uh, but, uh, here’s to have been repealed in 2019. But, uh, the article goes on to quote that there is a decade gap of, uh, data there that needs to be filled in. So like you said, this, this nonprofits doing tremendous, tremendous public service.

[00:12:32] All right, I’ll take us into our next story. And this comes from at KSHB 41, Kansas city news, and I’m going to package it with, uh, the next story from CBS 46 news. And these two articles about rising gas prices affecting delivery operations for nonprofits and similarly. Inflation impacting nonprofits ability to feed thousands of kids over the summer.

[00:13:01] So we have two local stories here. One is a nonprofit, uh, you know, the price of gasoline is affecting their ability, uh, to, to move, uh, goods around and their operations. And uh, this other story. Inflation, uh, which we’ve talked about on this podcast, really impacting food banks and other, uh, services providing nonprofits.

[00:13:23] But, uh, George, do we see this abating anytime soon? Is this going to be a problem for the long-term? Do we think how, how should we think about this kind of a macro economic, or even just a macro level?

[00:13:39] George: So one of the reasons I brought up the articles that I did, I mean, there’s so many of these articles about inflation. We talked about it on here, but the shift in the summer is that the school food programs that disproportionately feed a tremendous amount of food, insecure young people in this country through public schools.

[00:13:57] Goes away during the summer. And so there’s going to be a different level of food insecurity, hitting families across the country. This summer, while gas continues to rise and food prices continue to clearly hit new inflation highs and the cost of, uh, and the cost of food to feed, uh, is going, you know, that that need, that has to be met and it’s disproportionate during the summer.

[00:14:21] So these ones should program. Uh, or something that I was just looking at. And so if your organization is in and around it, I think messaging the urgency associated with a shift that, that could maybe help with fundraising or improving the narrative.

[00:14:36] Nick: Absolutely. I agree. Those programs serve such a vital importance for our school students. And. The summer is hard for a lot of families that don’t have not only the those food programs, but even then have to consider things like childcare or paying for camp or whatever it may be. Puts a lot of, a lot of burden on, on folks.

[00:15:00] So that’s a great thing to flag. All right, our next article, George, I know this is one, uh, that you’re a topic you’re passionate about and you’re passionate about it because you, in fact wrote this article and the title is small. Non-profits, shouldn’t be subjected to the same payroll’s hacks as Amazon and Exxon mobile written by you in the Chronicle of philanthropy.

[00:15:26] Do you want to tell us a little bit about what you.

[00:15:30] George: I’m just going to admit, I know this is just shameless. It’s shameless for me to bring my own article into our own newsfeed. However, this has been on my mind for probably a couple of years of how effectively the same payroll tax, right? When you pay an employee. That sort of percentage of payroll tax that goes to state and federal, which, you.

[00:15:50] know, 10 to 14% give or take is the same rate that a Facebook exec, sorry, Mehta, exac, or somebody at Exxon or somebody at any other size organization is paying the same percentage rate instead of something like, and maybe you’re like, oh, that makes sense.

[00:16:06] It’s a flat thing. Except if you look at our income tax, it’s a progressive tax. The percent that a billionaire has to pay is more. On paper, at least than somebody making minimum wage yet at the point of sale at the point of the moment where the nonprofit or the fortune 100 company is paying the person, that’s the same percentage rate.

[00:16:31] And so I’m suggesting here a policy where in nonprofits that. Our smaller frankly, uh, that are smaller for effectively. I’m calling about a quarter million charities that are operating with less than a hundred employees and less than 5 million in annual revenue. Basically for, you know, a few billion dollars could essentially we could remove the payroll tax.

[00:16:56] They’re giving them an extra 10%, uh, operating to either raise wages, to hire people, to serve the communities that they already do. And, and by the way, they are, you know, 5 0 1 C3. So they are doing public good. Uh, and I put the cap on that in terms of the Cypress medical thing is because I don’t think a nonprofit with like 10,000 employees is the same.

[00:17:18] Type of situation that a smaller under 100 person nonprofit is. And yeah, it’s a, it’s a it’s part thought experiment, but also part super freaking practical that literally for a cost of 3.7 billion I’d calculated, which could easily be made up with a progressive tax that we’re in up a touch more for organizations like Amazon.

[00:17:44] To pay cause they can’t get around those taxes the same way they can on income tax on, on their, on their corporate taxes. They can’t get away from the fact that they need to pay humans to do work. And that’s where a percent is taken out. It’d be pretty easy to move up half a point for organizations that are operating over a billion dollars because they’re dodging their freaking taxes.

[00:18:05] Anyway. Anyway, this is a window into how. I get with social impact.

[00:18:12] Nick: We love geekiness onto this podcast. And George I’d hesitate to guess that listeners who’ve made it this far into the podcast are just as geeky. So I think we are in good company, but I wish I had, I wish I had a room. I

[00:18:27] Uh, we’ll look at the data. We’ll see many people make it this far. I wish I had a room to, to get you in someone to talk to someone in a suit in a, in a nice office in DC, because I think they need to hear.

[00:18:41] George: Well, I’m not going to give up on this idea. I don’t know where to go next. I did get a quote from the independent sector, uh, that, you know, they, they do think it’s you know, potentially plausible and they, they said there is, uh, some type of, you know, precedent for this type of tax. But. We’ll say, I don’t know where to go with it next, but I tend not to let things drop, so I’ll keep pushing this.

[00:19:04] And if anybody listening just wants to take this and run with it, please go, go do it. I’ll give you the research. Cause I should be doing my real job instead of trying to push something like this,

[00:19:18] Nick: It’s for the public. Good. And speaking of public. Good. How about a feel, good story from our favorite.

[00:19:26] George: please.

[00:19:28] Nick: All right. This story comes from a Western slope not entirely sure, but it is about a nonprofit that’s helping, helping formerly incarcerated firefighters get jobs. So it’s, well-known that, especially out west, including in California, Oregon, and Washington states have relied on incarcerated men and women.

[00:19:52] Wildfires. And that’s all, that’s a whole other conversation. But they are often trained to perform here at grueling work while earning just a few dollars, sometimes as little as $2 a day. However, there is a nonprofit group with some foundation backing. That’s trying to help those firefighters turn their in carceral rated job into a real job.

[00:20:19] Upon, uh, their release. So it’s helping folks get the, uh, the certifications they need. Cause they already have the real-world training. I’ve already been doing it. They basically already are firefighters. But helping incarcerated folks, uh, turn what they learned during, during prison into a career.

[00:20:38] And I think that’s really tremendous. It helps, uh, reintegrate firefighters into, or formerly incarcerated folks. Newly firefighters into our communities. It helps them, uh, serve a public good and public benefit. And we interview when the individuals who participated. And he was saying that he felt that he had something to give back to society and was really proud to be able to serve in that capacity.

[00:21:02] So this is a really innovation, innovative program, I think. And I’m for any kind of program that helps formerly incarcerated folks reintegrate into society, uh, because. It reduces recidivism and it has a whole host of other social benefits, but cool to see.

[00:21:20] George: That’s a really great quote in here from a a person. Uh, incarcerated and Brandon Smith says when you’re incarcerated, you have this stigma of being a public nuisance. Being a firefighter, provided an opportunity for me to give back to community and give myself a sense of pride. It was something I wanted to continue as a way of giving back to the community once I came home.

[00:21:44] But they noted that after his sentence was completed in 2014, it really wasn’t clear how to essentially become a firefighter, even though he was. Already trained in that. And so the certificate cations that he received while incarcerated didn’t count and he, uh, and he couldn’t even apply for some positions do the criminal records.

[00:22:05] So this is a great nonprofit. And by the way, you know, speaking to somebody who’s in California, like we need firefighters very, very much so also across the Midwest, because it’s going to be a very tough fire season. So hats off to these folks. All right, Nick. Thank you.

[00:22:22] Nick: Thanks, arch.