Charities are supposed to be the leaders in meaningful work, but without unique purpose statements or good working cultures, they’re haemorrhaging talent to the private sector. Here’s why it’s happening and what can be done before it’s too late. Read the full report here.


Kin&Co’s research shows the true state of the charity sector

As culture and communications specialists, we’ve undertaken research that reveals workers traditionally searching for meaningful work through charities, are opting for purpose-driven businesses instead. Over half (53%) of people say they think they can make a positive impact on the world working for a business, as opposed to just 35% for a charity.

In the wake of numerous charity scandals – which the research reveals has put one in four (37%) people off working for the sector – the study indicates that it’s a lack of investment in culture and clarity of purpose that’s causing the issue. Over 60% want to find meaning in their work, but only 29% of people say the culture within a charity appeals to them. Nearly half (45%) say they have heard negative reviews about working cultures within charities. These negative ideas of the charity sector can be rectified, but there’s a bit of work to do to get everyone on board.


Charities aren’t investing in their cultures and it shows

As is widely known within the private sector, good culture starts with having a strong sense of purpose (why you exist beyond profit) and values (the characteristics of how you work). Yet, the research we’ve done into the top 100 charities indicates this may be where charities are falling short.

Only 55% of charities have values clearly articulated on their website, and when they do, a staggering 63% of those are exactly the same as another charity on the list. Integrity, respect and accountability make up the top three. With scandals taking up the headlines, those values look a lot more facetious than inspiring.

With trust in charities at a low, workers aren’t likely to stick around

The more these stories are at odds with what charities are saying they are, the more workers are doubting the impact they can make through charities. With the sense of purpose and impact in the sector taking a nosedive, nearly one in five workers (18%) have left or considered leaving a job at a charity because they were not making enough of a difference. Only 14% of the top 100 charities have a clearly articulated purpose.


The good news?

Now is the time to pick up what’s been dropped. The charities making purpose and values a priority will be seen as the leaders in the field because they’re the ones that will  be making a positive change with tangible results.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is one example of an organisation that’s increased its focus on culture, putting people and values at the heart of its strategy. Similarly, disaster relief charity, ShelterBox is prioritising culture this year having invited Kin&Co to help them define their values.

Kevin Orchard, HR Manager, ShelterBox says: “We know there are great things about our culture, but as with any organisation there are areas to work on too. By bottling our culture and defining what we stand for, and importantly ensuring we really live the result, we’ll have greater internal alignment, staff retention will improve and we’ll continue to attract the right kind of people. This work is going to be a game changer.”


Don’t let this negativity hit your organisation without a fight

There’s time to take this negativity and turn it into something positive. Show your audience that you’re one of the good ones – doing something positive for your employees and your whole organisation. This will have a knock on effect with staff engaging more in projects and striving for a better world through the organisation.


About the research

The research was conducted amongst 1,000 working adults by Populus in August 2018.

This research comes as Kin&Co announces a workshop on charity culture due to take place later this year. To register interest or find out more, email