I have just presented the Edelman Trust Barometer in Milan with the Italian cut of the data – – – they are more trusting of NGOs than anywhere else in the world and really distrust banks by the way. The panel included Maurizio Belpietro, Editor of Il Giornale, Thomas Ingelfinger, CEO, Biersdorf, Italy and Massimiliano Dona, the Secretary General, UNC (the Italian Consumer’s Association). It was a good discussion and made me think more about why NGOs are so trusted in Europe by opinion formers. I would like to suggest a few reasons:
1: the most obvious reason is that all NGOs want to affect change that they believe will make the world a better place and what’s not to trust about that?
2: They appear also to have no ulterior motive in what they do (though many would dispute this as a reality). Politicians are always suspected of running for office and wanting our vote. The media are suspected of wanting to sell their product as much as tell the truth and business of course has to deal with the fact that many people see its need to make a profit as problematic. NGO’s appear to have none of these problems
3: They are excellent communicators, they stay on message, have great spokespeople and often drive news agendas.
4. Increasingly I think government’s and political parties all over Europe have rushed towards the centre and that has left them unable or unwilling to campign on issues that might be seen by the consitutency in the centre to be divisive. So if the man in middle England or middle Italy views with suspicion anyone who talks too much about animal rights for example, then it becomes increasingly expedient for politicians to cede that task to NGOs and then be seen to react to ‘public pressure’ and move legislation or policy in reaction to that pressure – – a much more centre-voter friendly way of doing things.
I was also asked why we added religious institutions to our list this year. Here’s my answer:
(Glasses rather than contact lenses as it was a 4am start!)
[tags]Edelman, Trust Barometer, NGOs [/tags]