Lindsay J.K. Nichols | March 9, 2017

Trust is in Crisis. Listening is the Answer. Snapshot 2017 Can Help.

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer—the annual global trust and credibility survey—was recently published and the news isn’t good.

Edelman is calling it a “global implosion of trust” with the crux being that “trust is in crisis around the world.”

They report that trust in four key institutions — business, government, NGOs, and media — has declined broadly, which hasn’t happened since Edelman began tracking trust among these segments in 2012.

As the Edelman report states, “we have moved beyond the point of trust being simply a key factor in product purchase or selection of employment opportunity; it is now the deciding factor in whether a society can function.”

Whether a society can function. These are heady words, and it’s appropriate to be a little shocked and even perhaps a bit scared by these words. I know I felt afraid. So, I’m going to go ahead and give you a moment to let that sink in.…

Done? Good. Because we have a lot to do. And make no mistake: this is not a time for delay or dithering. Now is the time to take action.

Believe it or not, among this scary stuff, is a message of hope. Employers, specifically employee giving engagement leaders, have a real opportunity here. According to Edelman, of the four institutions, “business is viewed as the only one that can make a difference.”

How Businesses Can Act on This Opportunity

What mechanism is in place to do just that? Employee giving and engagement, of course. CSR and workplace giving, of course. Corporate philanthropy, of course. In other words: YOU.

As Edelman reports, “Among those who are uncertain about whether the system is working for them, it is business (58 percent) that they trust most.”

And not only do businesses have a chance – it’s actually an expectation.

“Not only are the stakes high for business, but so are the expectations that it will act. Three out of four general population respondents agree that a company can take actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.”

So how do employers rebuild trust and restore faith in the system? How do we start addressing people’s fears and put people first?

We listen.

Well, we do way more than that, and in another post I’ll tackle that, but right now I want to provide you with a FREE tool to help you listen: the Snapshot 2017 survey. As you may have heard, America’s Charities will be releasing its Snapshot 2017 Report this fall to share employee giving and engagement trends from the donor perspective. Right now, we are asking organizations across the country to distribute the Snapshot 2017 survey to their employees in the hopes of securing as many responses as possible. 

Here’s the best part:

The Snapshot 2017 survey can act as your employee listening tool. Your staff’s responses can help you:

  • better understand what your employees value and how they make decisions about charitable giving and volunteering
  • learn which activities provide greatest benefit for and impact on employees and tell a more compelling story about these benefits
  • improve your employee giving and engagement over time

And I might add – this survey will help you build that bridge to your employees and gain, or strengthen, that trust. In today’s age of distrust, that is absolutely crucial.

How it Works:

This survey only works as a listening tool if you share it with your employees using a unique survey URL, which we will create just for your organization upon your request. At the conclusion of the survey, we will send you your organization’s full aggregate employee dataset, which will provide an array of actionable intel. You could also use it to benchmark against the other responses, which will be shared when we release the Snapshot 2017 report this fall.

Time Commitment: 10-15 minutes tops

Here’s another great part – it’s not a huge time commitment on your employee’s part, and their responses are anonymous and confidential. The survey is 10 questions, multiple choice, and should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete. When it’s all said and done, your employees’ anonymous responses will be aggregated with hundreds of other confidential responses from employees across the country and published into a narrative report in September.

Ready to Get Started? Contact us for Your Unique Survey URL:

If you’d like to listen to your employees, please contact me at Lindsay Nichols at and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have, as well as provide you with a unique URL.

I appreciate your consideration, as this will go far in improving the field of employee giving and engagement.

And I truly believe your employees will appreciate it as well. People want to be heard, and your employees are no exception.

Most importantly, the time is ripe to cement your relationship with your employees.

As Edelman states, “With a higher trust score than government, business is, in effect, the last retaining wall, holding back a rising tide of dissatisfaction. If business disappoints, it too will fall victim to the rising tide. Recognizing that the treatment and relationship with employees and customers alike is integral to building trust, business should adopt an ‘inside out’ approach, which begins with listening.”

Additional Information:




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