The May 4 issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy brings a disturbing report of increasing distrust of nonprofits. Harris Poll Interactive's most recent DonorPulse survey (done quarterly) found, among other things that:
27% of Americans do not believe that charities were "honest and ethical in their use of donated funds"
32% feel that the nonprofit world has "Pretty seriously gotten off in the wrond direction."
9 in 10 of those surveyed had made a charitable donation in the past year, up from 8 in 10 in the prior quarter.
In looking at this survey, I see a reflection of our disdain for Congress. Seriously. When you look at polls of voter satisfaction with congress, they rate just above slugs. But 90% of congress (when they run for re-election) is re-elected every term. Why? Because while we may dis the institution, we want our elected representatives back in, because they bring home the pork, and we know that the longer they are in congress the more pork we get.
Same thing here: Americans are concerned with nonprofits in GENERAL, but will continue to give to THEIR nonprofit (their church, their arts organization, their school).
That aside, these kinds of results do mean that the public a: will support legislation that "cracks down" on nonprofits, and b: that donations from individuals to NEW nonprofits may be much more difficult to achieve.