Acknowledging that public confidence in charities had been damaged, United Purpose’s CEO, Kathryn Llewellyn, said “It is only right that we as individual organisations, and as a whole sector, are being asked to demonstrate the principles, standards and values that we guide ourselves by…This is moral leadership and something I do not shy away from.”
One former Oxfam donor, Louise, a Healthcare support worker from Cardiff said, “It puts you off giving to charity. I don’t give money to Oxfam anymore. Even if they improved their safeguarding I can’t say whether I’d definitely give to them again because they’ve betrayed my trust.”
Further allegations that more than 120 charity workers from across the industry were accused of sexual abuse in the last year further shook public confidence in the third sector.
Earning trust is particularly important for a charity as giving is a voluntary act where organisations rely on the goodwill of donors as opposed to traditional consumers.
Dr Catherine Walsh, a lecturer specialising in corporate trust at Cardiff University said “No one must engage with Oxfam, people only chose to do so, and simply won’t if they think it’s operating in an immoral way. This is especially acute in the voluntary sector, where expectations of morality are high, and no one who donates to Oxfam needs to do so.”
Evidence is emerging however that the erosion in public trust in the third sector may only be bound to Oxfam. A study conducted by Harris Interactive showed that 61% of people said that the scandal had not changed their perceptions of charities in general.
Jayne a retail assistant from Cardiff said, “Just because there are a couple of bad eggs doesn’t mean that the whole place should be ruined because of it. If someone is caught stealing from a shop you don’t punish everyone in the shop.”