The Australian Charity Reputation Index, conducted each year by the global Reputation Institute, measures and ranks Australia’s largest 40 charities.

CareFlight topped the annual Australian Charity Reputation Index.

Essential services provided to remote and rural Australia continue to be highly valued by people across the country, with an annual study showing CareFlight and the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia are our two most reputable charities.

The study – conducted each year by the global Reputation Institute (RI) – shows that CareFlight rose one place in overall rankings to take the top spot (after debuting third in 2017), while the Royal Flying Doctors took second place after ranking first for eight years in a row.

The Australian Charity Reputation Index (RepTrak®) surveyed 9,820 respondents, who were nationally representative by age and gender, to measure the overall reputation of the country’s 40 largest charities.

They were ranked using a scoring system that includes measures of trust, admiration, respect and overall esteem. The measurement also includes a range of dimensions such as services, innovation, workplace, citizenship, governance, leadership and cost management.

Guide Dogs again ranked third in this year’s Index, with CanTeen showing the strongest improvement in rankings, jumping 16 places to rank fourth overall.

CanTeen slipped to 20th last year after debuting at 8th in 2017. However, its overall reputation was still strong despite that fall. The lift seen this year was mainly due to how well Australians view its Citizenship and Innovation, and that its brand is seen in public during various fundraising activities.

“CanTeen’s improvement is a great example of how important it is for the charitable sector to clearly demonstrate the positive effect its work is having on the community,” said RI Managing Director Oliver Freedman at an event to launch the findings.

During a panel discussion at the event, Kerry Kalcher, Head of Client Experience and Acting Head of Marketing and Communications at CanTeen, said that the visibility has been strategic focus for the organisation and has a big impact on how CanTeen is viewed.

Perception versus reality is an important distinction when considering these rankings, said Freedman. If the public perception is not correct then this is signal that your charity needs to take steps to change or fix the problem.

Freedman also pointed out the distinction between two drivers of reputation: character and capability. Character (services and impact) drive 65.6% of a charity’s reputation while capability (factors such as management and treatment of staff) accounts for 34.4%.

The top 5 charities for character are:

  1. CareFlight
  2. RFDS
  3. Fred Hollows Foundation
  4. Guide Dogs
  5. McGrath Foundation

The top 5 charities for capability are:

  1. CareFlight
  2. RFDS
  3. McGrath Foundation
  4. National Breast Cancer Foundation
  5. Starlight Children’s Foundation

For corporates, character drives 57.8% and capability drives 42.2% of reputation.

The overall reputation of Australia’s charities is still stronger than our corporate sector.

“25 of the 40 charities in our annual study still have better reputation scores than the best rated corporation in Australia, which as of November this year was Air New Zealand,” said Freedman. Samsung and Toyota came in second and third.

As corporates grapple with demonstrating their ‘higher purpose’, the number one global trend in reputation in 2020, there is an opportunity for nonprofits to partner with corporates to help them go beyond mission and vision to show Australians how they can make the world a better place.

Other global trends in reputation are: data privacy, responsible investment, impact of technology, climate change, influencers, mistrust of big institutions, responsible resourcing, CEO activism and inequality, diversity and inclusiveness.


CareFlight 1 +1
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia 2 -1
Guide Dogs 3 No Change
CanTeen 4 +16
The Fred Hollows Foundation 5 +10
St John Ambulance 6 -2
Ronald McDonald House Charities 7 -1
Camp Quality 8 +4
Surf Life Saving Foundation 9 +4
National Breast Cancer Foundation 10 -3
Starlight Children’s Foundation 11 -6
McGrath Foundation 12 -4
Make-A-Wish Australia 13 +3
Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation 14 +4
Beyond Blue 15 -4
Médecins Sans Frontières Australia (Doctors Without Borders) 16 -7
Lifeline Australia 17 -7
Leukaemia Foundation of Australia 18 +1
Diabetes Australia 19 -5
RSPCA 20 +2
National Heart Foundation of Australia 21 +2
Australian Red Cross Society 22 +2
The Movember Foundation 23 -2
Cancer Council 24 -7
The Smith Family 25 No Change
St Vincent de Paul Society 26 +3
Wesley Mission 27 +6
The Salvation Army 28 +2
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 29 +2
Vision Australia 30 +2
Mission Australia 31 -5
YMCA Australia 32 -5
Save the Children Australia 33 +5
Amnesty International Australia 34 No Change
Yourtown (previously known as BoysTown) 35 +2
Oxfam Australia 36 -1
World Vision Australia 37 +2
CARE Australia 38 -10
Greenpeace Australia Pacific 39 +1
UNICEF Australia 40 -4
Subscribe to access this article.

Continue reading your article with an F&P subscription

Join with other top fundraisers to receive insight, analysis and inspiration to help you raise more funds.

subscribe now for $1

Cancel anytime.

Already a subscriber? LOGIN HERE