Survey Variable: Organisations Supported

Those respondents who indicated that they supported a campaign organisation or a charity (or both) were given the opportunity to write the organisation(s) that they support into an open text box. Far more people (n = 980) indicated that they supported charities than campaign organisations (n = 220), and almost all of those who supported the latter also supported the former (n = 202). Some people listed multiple campaign organisations or charities (or both) that they supported. Their answers were coded into 24 categories, with details provided in the table at the bottom of this post. Figure 1 (above, using unweighted data) shows the percentage of all organisations listed that fall into each category: panel A does so for all organisations listed by all respondents; panel B shows the breakdown for organisations listed by respondents who only support charities; panel C shows the distribution amongst respondents who support both campaign organisations and charities.

When considering the answers given by all respondents (panel A) it is clear that organisations working on cancer research and care are the most popular (14.6% of all organisations listed), closely followed by humanitarian and international development organisations (12.6% of all organisations listed). Combined, the categories covering health issues encompass three in ten (30.3%) of all the organisations listed. Further, if we combined the category relating to animal welfare with the category covering nature, wildlife, and the environment then it becomes the second biggest category (16.3% of all organisations listed) after the combined health category. The distribution of organisations supported looks very similar if we focus on the answers of respondents who said that they only support charities (panel B). The most notable change is the decline in the percentage of organisations falling into the ‘Nature / Wildlife / Env.’ category, which indicatives that organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth (FoE) are considered by many to be campaign organisations rather than charities. That said, a small number of respondents listed the same organisations as both the campaigning organisations and the charities that they supported, and a smaller group explicitly commented on the blurred boundary between the two types of organisation.

Nevertheless, the general view of organisations like Greenpeace and FoE as more campaigning than charitable is also apparent when we turn to the organisations listed by people who support both campaign organisations and charities (panel C). Indeed, ‘Nature / Wildlife / Env.’ is the largest category of organisations listed by these respondents (with 12.9% of the total), just ahead of humanitarian and international development organisations (11.9% of the total). We also see a jump in the percentage of organisations working on human rights (4.4%, compared to 0.4% amongst respondents who only support charities), indicating that organisations like Amnesty International and Liberty are seen more as campaign organisations than charities. More dramatically, all of the organisations working on general progressive causes, such as 38 Degrees and Avaaz, are considered to be campaign organisations (8.7% of the total compared to 0.0% amongst respondents who only support charities). The same is true, unsurprisingly, of organisations working on constitutional issues and the small number of political parties listed by respondents (3.1% of organisations, compared to 0.0% amongst respondents who only support charities). Finally, the bulk of organisations falling into the nebulous ‘Other’ category (including, for instance, those working on issue relating to gender, LGBT+ rights, taxation, transport, and the arms trade) are considered to be campaign organisations rather than charities (7.9% of organisations, compared to 2.9% amongst respondents who only support charities).

We can also look at the number of organisations that people support, as shown in Figure 2 (below, using weighted data). More than a third (35.7%) do not list any specific organisation that they support, though almost as many (33.9%) list one. Less than half as many (14.7%) list two organisations that they support, half as many again (7.1%) list three, and half as many again (3.5%) list four. Thus, although the modal category is zero, a clear majority of people list at least one organisation that they support (64.3%) and more than half (55.7%) support between one and three. A further group (4.4%) indicated that they didn’t know, couldn’t remember, or were unwilling to list the campaigning organisations or charities (or both) that they support, or listed organisations that could not be identified. Additionally, some people (2.5%) indicated that they support various or multiple organisations (without listing them), or that they put money in any collection tins that they see. Thus, more people support organisations than are willing or able to list the specific ones that they favour. However, this comes with the familiar caveat that respondents to surveys, and especially quota surveys of respondents from voluntary online panels, are more politically engaged than the population at large and therefore likely to indicate more widespread support for organisations.

Figure 2. See also Table 1A.
CategoryDescription and Examples
CancerOrganisations relating to cancer research and cancer care.
Examples: Cancer Research UK and MacMillan Cancer Care.
End-of-Life / HospiceOrganisations offering end-of-life care, including bereavement support, or running hospices.
Examples: Marie Curie, Sue Ryder, local hospices.
Physical HealthOrganisations working on physical conditions not covered by the ‘Cancer’ and ‘Cardiac / Stroke’ categories.
Examples: MS Society, Diabetes UK, Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
Cardiac / StrokeOrganisations working on cardiac conditions and stroke.
Examples: British Heart Foundation, Stroke Association.
Neurological DeclineOrganisations working on neurological decline.
Examples: Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK, Parkinson’s UK.
Mental HealthOrganisations working on mental health, including crisis support.
Examples: Mind, Samaritans.
Humanitarian / Int. Dev.Organisations working on humanitarian relief and international development, including in relations to disasters, disease, medical treatment, food and nutrition, education, and economic development.
Examples: Save the Children, UNICEF, Medicins sans Frontieres, Red Cross, ActionAid.
Animal WelfareOrganisations working on the welfare of domesticated animals. Organisations that work on protecting animals in their natural environments are coded under the ‘Nature / Wildlife / Env.’ category.
Examples: RSPCA, PDSA, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, World Animal Protection, local animal shelters.
Nature / Wildlife / Env.Organisations working on protection of the natural environment, wildlife (in its natural habitat), and environmental protection and policy (including climate change). This is an amalgamation of previously separate categories: ‘Nature / Wildlife’ and ‘Environmental’, with the former tending to be less radical (e.g. Woodland Trust) than the latter (e.g. Greenpeace).
Examples: Woodland Trust, RSPB, WWF, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace.
Children / Young Ppl.Organisations working on the protection, welfare, and rights of children and young people. Organisations that work on health conditions as they afect young people (e.g. Teenage Cancer Trust) are coded under the relevant health category.
Examples: Children in Need, Barnardo’s, Childline.
Disability / NeurodiversityOrganisations working on physical disability, learning difficulties, and neurodivergence.
Examples: RNIB, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Mencap, National Autistic Society.
Services / VeteransOrganisations working on behalf of current and past members of the armed forces.
Examples: Help for Heroes, Royal British Legion (including the Poppy Appeal), SSAFA.
ReligiousOrganisations with evangelising a central component of their work, or that are primarily defined by the faith that they relate to. This includes organisations that offer help, support, or relief in a range of contexts, but coupled with evangelism.
Examples: The Salvation Army, local churches, YMCA, United Christian Broadcasters.
Emergency / RescueOrganisations providing emergency or rescue services.
Examples: RNLI, regional air ambulances, Mountain Rescue, St John Ambulance.
HeritageOrganisations working on protection of historic buildings or maintaining local history.
Examples: The National Trust, English Heritage, local history museums.
HomelessnessOrganisations providing support, accommodation, or advocacy for homeless people, or working on housing policy.
Examples: Shelter, Centrepoint, St Mungo’s.
Elderly / InfirmOrganisations providing help, support, transport, company, or advocacy for elderly or infirm people.
Examples: Age UK, local care and support networks.
Sport / ActivityOrganisations supporting sporting or other activities, or advocating on behalf of particular sports or activities.
Examples: Sport Relief, Ramblers, Cyclists’ Touring Club, local bowling club.
Community / LocalOrganisations working specifically in a local community, on matters of concern in the locality.
Examples: Neighbourhood Watch, residents associations, community hall volunteering, library volunteering.
Culture / ArtsOrganisations supporting museums, galleries, or performance venues, or artists, writers, or performers.
Examples: Tate, V&A, British Museum, Dorset Opera, The Lowry Theatre.
Human RightsOrganisations working on human rights, either nationally or internationally.
Examples: Amnesty International, Liberty, No2ID, Stop the Traffik.
General ProgressiveOrganisations providing platforms for campaigning on a range of progressive issues.
Examples: 38 Degrees, Avaaz, Care2, Causes, SumOfUs.
Constitutional / Pol. Par.Organisations working on constitutional issues, and political parties.
Examples: Republic, Yes Scotland, Better Together, Labour Party, Conservative Party.
OtherOrganisations relating to topics that fewer than ten respondents indicated they support: Family, Advice (e.g. CAB), Food Banks, Anti-Austerity, Membership Clubs, Sectoral / Benevolent Funds, Gender, Trade unions / Professional associations, Cultural Diversity, LGBT+, Abuse, Victim Support, Carers, Road Safety, Abortion, Addiction, Anti-Racism, Transport, Tax, Rural Life, Peace / Anti-Arms, Beer, Consumer rights.
TotalThe total number of specific and identifiable organisations or issues that each respondent listed.
Details of categories of campaign organisations and charities supported.
The full spreadsheet used to manually code respondents’ answers can be viewed here.

Published by joegreenwoodhau

Joe Greenwood-Hau is a Lecturer in Politics in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, where his teaching focuses on Introduction to Political Data Analaysis and he is wrapping up the Capital, Privilege and Political Participation in Britain and Beyond project.

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