Royal Flying Doctors Service Tops Country’s Most Reputable Charity

Royal Flying Doctors Service Tops Country’s Most Reputable Charity

Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor service has again confirmed its place as the country’s most reputable charity, ranking first in the 2015 Charity Reputation Index for the fifth year running.

Rebecca Tilly
Posted by Rebecca Tilly

Released this week and developed by research consultants AMR, part of STW, the annual index also shows that Guide Dogs also maintained its strong reputation, coming in second place for the second year running. Other charities to fare well include the Fred Hollows Foundation which climbed two places to rank third overall this year, and Medecins Sans Frontières Australia (Doctors Without Borders), which ranked fifth overall in the first year it has been included.

Beyond Blue has also seen a steady improvement of its overall reputation; in 2012 it ranked 17th overall, and has strengthened its reputation each year since. This year, it ranks fourth overall.

The Charity Reputation Index surveys Australians[1] to measure the overall reputation of the country’s 40 largest charities and ranks them accordingly using a scoring system. The measurement also includes a range of dimensions such as Services, Innovation, Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Leadership and Cost Management.

AMR’s Managing Director Oliver Freedman said: “The results continue to show the immense trust Australians have for the charity sector as a whole across a breadth of causes.  The top 5 charities now include those focused on the mental and physical well-being of individuals within Australia as well as across the globe.”

Freedman said the Royal Flying Doctor Service also ranked highly across the individual dimensions measured (Services, Innovation, Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Leadership and Cost Management), coming first in all categories except leadership, where the Fred Hollows Foundation took line honours.

“The RFDS has now ranked first for the fifth year running.  The consistent level of trust, admiration and respect highlights the emotional connection felt by Australians.  Their reputation continues to be built on a broad foundation with the Royal Flying Doctor Service ranking first on six of the seven underlying reputation dimensions,” said Freedman.

“What a terrific acknowledgement for our front line health and aviation staff. But the Flying Doctor is only as good as the clinical care given to the next patient seen by any of our health, dental, or mental health professionals,” Mr Laverty, RFDS CEO said in response to the RFDS being ranked Australia’s most reputable charity.

Several other leading charities improved their rankings this year; Starlight Children’s Foundation rose four places to rank 8th overall and Save the Children up 12 places to rank 24th overall. The Salvation Army increased from 27th to 17th but remains below its 2013 rank (10th).

WWF has broken into the Top 20, rising from 23rd last year to rank 18th overall this year. It is the first time an environmentally-focussed charity has ranked in the Top 20 since tracking started in 2012.

By contrast, Oxfam showed the biggest decline amongst all charities measured; it fell 13 places to rank 30th overall this year and The Surf Life Saving Foundation dropped six places to fall outside the top 10 and rank 13th overall.

Boystown and Greenpeace Australia Pacific were again seen as the charities with the weakest overall reputations, ranking 39th and 40th respectively – for the third year running.

“While Greenpeace remains ranked 40th out of 40, another of the environmentally related charities WWF is showing an improvement.  For the first time, we have an environmentally based Charity in the Top 20 and WWF has seen perceptions of its leadership and vision as well as its services and transparency improve significantly over the past four years,” said Freedman.

2015 Charity Reputation Index – overall results

Charity Name 2014 RANK 2015 RANK
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia 1 1
Guide Dogs 2 2
The Fred Hollows Foundation 5 3
Beyond Blue Ltd 9 4
Medecins Sans Frontières Australia (Doctors Without Borders) 5
St John Ambulance 3 6
Camp Quality 6 7
Starlight Childrens Foundation 12 8
McGrath Foundation 8 9
National Breast Cancer Foundation 4 10
Cancer Council Australia 10 11
Australian Red Cross Society 11 12
Surf Life Saving Foundation 7 13
Diabetes Australia 16 14
National Heart Foundation of Australia 20 15
RSPCA 15 16
The Salvation Army 27 17
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 23 18
St Vincent de Paul Society 18 19
The Smith Family 24 20
Wesley Mission 28 21
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) 21 22
Barnardos Australia 29 23
Save the Children Australia 36 24
Australian Conservation Foundation 31 25
Cerebral Palsy Alliance (Formerly The Spastic Centre of New South Wales) 19 26
Multiple Sclerosis Ltd 25 27
ChildFund Australia 38 28
Vision Australia Ltd 22 29
Oxfam Australia 17 30
UNICEF Australia 26 31
The Wilderness Society 35 32
Plan Australia 33
World Vision Australia 30 34
CARE Australia 34 35
Compassion Australia 33 36
Amnesty International Australia 32 37
Mission Australia 37 38
BoysTown 39 39
Greenpeace Australia Pacific 40 40


[1] N=4,441 Australians aged 18-64. Data was collected in between 6.11.15 and 25.11.15.

Credits to the Royal Flying Doctor Service