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Public trust and performance measurement in charitable organizations

Yang, Yongjiao; Brennan, Iain; Wilkinson, Mick


Yongjiao Yang


Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to seek to investigate public trust as an important factor of performance in the charitable sector, and explain the necessity of including public trust assessment in charity performance measurement. Design/methodology/approach-Two focus group interviews were conducted in the UK to investigate the reasons for trust and lack of trust in charities, which contributed to the identification of the relation between public trust and charity performance measurement. Findings-Indicators of public trust in charities are not only related to some conventional criteria for evaluating charity performance, but also shed light on “soft” factors which are relatively new criteria used to assess performance. Furthermore, measuring public trust is an indispensable supplement to existing approaches of performance assessment in the charitable sector. It remedies the drawbacks of previous studies by employing a “bottom-up” approach to evaluation that avoids the conflicting demands of different stakeholders when deciding assessment criteria. Research limitations/implications-Re-conducting the study with larger samples, combining with quantitative surveys, and applying more rigorous approach to data analysis could be helpful for improving the generalizability of the results. Practical implications-The study highlights the necessity of considering public trust when measuring charity performance. Additionally, it suggests charities to make improvements of their performance based on the reasons for trust and lack of trust. Originality/value-It provides insight into the public trust of charities and, for the first time, explores the applicability of measuring public trust in charity performance evaluation.


Yang, Y., Brennan, I., & Wilkinson, M. (2014). Public trust and performance measurement in charitable organizations. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 63(6), 779-796.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2014
Online Publication Date Jul 8, 2014
Publication Date Jul 8, 2014
Deposit Date Jun 4, 2019
Journal International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Print ISSN 1741-0401
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 63
Issue 6
Pages 779-796
Keywords Performance; Measurement; Indicator; Charity; Charitable sector; Public trust
Public URL
Publisher URL