We have more great stories than any other industry. We save more lives, feed more hungry, and defend more rights than any other industry. We do more good and get paid less than any other industry, yet charities are, at times, pilloried by the media.
When discovering why this is, there may be a few factors to consider. Firstly, it seems that charities are held to a higher standard than our for-profit cousins. We are more accountable for every cent received than other organisations because we rely on donations not payments.
Secondly, philanthropy and generosity are not celebrated whole-heartedly in the press because good stories (by this I mean acts of good) don’t sell papers or get clicks unless they are accompanied by a picture of cute kittens in a basket.
Finally, the occasional blip from members of our rank such as the Oxfam crisis or RSL debacle cast a shadow over the rest of us and our only hope is the speed of the 24-hour news cycle that leave these disgraces behind us.
There is some good news here. In November 2017 the ACNC released their findings of the two-year public trust and confidence report that found 86% of Australians trust charities and 91% support us through volunteering and donations. With this, I think we have found the real reason for the negative media attention.
We are the fifth most trusted institution in Australia behind doctors, the police, the High Court and the ATO so a breach of our trust is a big story that is worthy of a front page.
So, let’s keep doing what we do best – saving lives and building trust. Let’s encourage journalists to do what they do best - shining a bright light into our darkest regions because this will only serve to make us better because no one holds us to a higher standard than ourselves.