Charities must be ‘easy to contact’

Wednesday 26th October 2011

One in ten people has contacted a charity for help, support or advice during the past 12 months, according to new research by Connect Assist.

But many people are deterred from seeking support and advice when charities offer limited access and respond slowly.

Connect Assist, a social enterprise contact centre that works exclusively within the charity sector, found that those most likely to contact charities are the 45-54 year old age group and those least likely to engage with charities were the 18-24 year old group (7%).

However, 58% say they would be discouraged from seeking advice if the charity was hard to contact, with this figure rising to 65% amongst the over 55 year olds, demonstrating the fragile relationship between the public and its charities.

Patrick Nash, chief executive of Connect Assist, said: “These findings are a fascinating insight into the way the British public seeks help and advice from charities. What they consider to be important, what would deter them from asking for support and how different age groups have varying priorities and habits.

“It is interesting to see that face-to-face meetings are not considered to be important, whereas quick and easy access via the phone or email is perceived as much more of a priority. However, at the heart of the findings is the fact that all groups regardless of age or geographic location want to receive expert robust advice from an empathetic source.”

The research, carried out in September by ICM, also found that having to wait a long time for a response or “being put on hold” was seen as a deterrent by 57% of those surveyed.

Half of those surveyed said they would think twice about contacting a charity if they had to give out a lot of personal information and a quarter of respondents would be put off by the thought of having a face-to-face meeting, with this figure rising to a third of the 18-24 year old group

Press Release can be found on the Media Trust website

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Case Study

Case Study: Grocery Aid

1.1.          Grocery Aid

1.1.1.      About our customer

Grocery Aid, the trading name of the National Grocers' Benevolent Fund, is the charity for the grocery industry. Grocery Aid helps people all over the UK who have worked, or are working, in the grocery industry and have now found that they need some extra support to get by. The help that Grocery Aid provides can make a very real difference and it provides not only monetary support, but also appliances and everyday items that many take for granted.

1.1.2.      The service we provide

The helpline was a new service for Grocery Aid. We set about improving the reach of their valuable service and sought to reach out to the people needing the help and support that they provide. In early 2010, Connect Assist successfully helped Grocery Aid launch their first helpline via our 24/7 Contact Centre. Today we offer multi-channel solutions via phone, e-mail, knowledgebase, ask a question and live chat.   The multi-channel helpline provides information and support to people and business owners working in the trade – from large supermarkets to corner shops. This includes an innovative ‘incident support’ service following attacks, arson and other incidents that are prevalent within the industry.


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