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Government Supplants NGOs and Business as Most-Trusted Institution in Midst of Coronavirus Crisis

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According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic released earlier this month, trust in government increased by 11 percentage points since January, to an all-time high of 65%—making it the most-trusted institution for the first time ever in Edelman’s 20 years of studying trust. In Edelman’s April survey of more than 13,200 respondents in 11 markets around the world, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) saw a four-point uptick in trust since January, to 62%; business is up four points, to 62%, in the update, too; media is up five, to 56%.

In the U.S., trust in government increased by nine percentage points, to 48%. Among those Americans who indicated they intend to vote Democratic in the November elections, trust in government overall increased five points, to 47%; in the federal government in particular, it decreased by five, to 40%. Among those who said they’ll vote Republican, trust in government overall increased 14 points, to 58%; in the federal government, it went up by 10, to 59%.

While still arguably low in relative terms, trust among Americans in NGOs increased by six percentage points, to 56%. Among Democrats, trust in NGOs went up 10 percentage points, to 65%. Among Republicans—in a finding that would be consistent with what Giving Review co-editor Bill Schambra wrote here last January—trust in NGOs actually went down two points, to 48%.

NGOs, the Edelman update also finds, are

under pressure to step up: to take care of people who are suffering, to raise money for pandemic relief and to help coordinate local efforts to support the most vulnerable members of our communities. Respondents in seven of the 11 markets surveyed worldwide, including the U.S., believe their local NGOs are not prepared to deal with the crisis.

This article first appeared in the Giving Review on May 14, 2020.


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