One In Ten Has Contacted A Charity For Help, Says Report

One in ten people has contacted a charity for help, support or advice during the past 12 months according to new research launched today by Connect Assist – a social enterprise contact centre that works exclusively within the charity sector.

However, many are being deterred from seeking support and advice when charities offer limited access and respond slowly.

Those most likely to contact charities are the 45-54 year old age group (16%) together with those living in Wales and the South West (12%).

Those least likely to engage with charities were the 18-24 year old group (7%) and those living in Scotland (6%).

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.

Having to wait a long time for a response or “being put on hold” was seen as another major deterrent by 57% of those surveyed.

While half of those surveyed would think twice about contacting a charity if they had to give out a lot of personal information.

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.

While, perhaps surprisingly, only one in ten felt that only being able to access a charity via email or telephone would be cause for concern.

When contacting charities the survey found that the most important thing for consumers was to talk to a sympathetic person who listens and provides advice (53%).

This remained consistent across all age groups and geographic areas. Having access to a source of expertise was also considered crucial by over half of those surveyed.

In contrast meeting face-to-face was given a relatively low ranking with only 17% of those surveyed considering this a priority.

Nearly half of the 18-24 year old group (46%) felt that availability 24/7 was important to them and were also the group most concerned with being able to stay anonymous when seeking support.

While the 55-64 year old age group appeared to feel the most time pressured with 48% prioritising the need for quick and easy access with no waiting around.

It was also the group that considered speed of response to be most important (38%).

Broader social trends were reflected in the results with a quarter of those surveyed saying that they would access support and advice through Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Perhaps, unsurprisingly, this figure rises to 58% amongst the 18-24 demographic and 45% of those aged 25-34, with Wales and South West England being the most Social Media friendly parts of the UK.

Over one in three respondents were most likely to contact a charity with regards to health or medical issues (36%).

This is followed by emotional and stress-related issues (18%), animal welfare issues (18%) and financial/debt issues (17%).

However, the 35-44 year old age group were most likely to have contacted charities regarding emotional or stress related issues and the 25-34 year old group regarding workplace issues.

Commenting on the results 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.”

Press Release can be found on the Charity Times website

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