Folks at The Nature Conservancy
should be feeling pretty good about themselves. A nationwide Harris Poll
found TNC to be the most trusted among 13 national large non-profits. That's great news for an organization that's been rocked by investigations in recent years over controversial easement practices. Looking at the results, it's clear that most people still view TNC, and I think land trusts in general, as a non-controversial organization.
According to the poll, of those who are familiar with it, 27% of respondants trust TNC a "great deal" with 52% marking "fair amount" for a combined "trust" rating of 79%. Only 16% said "not very much" and 4 % were at "not at all".
The AARP finished second on the trust rankings, the Sierra Club came in fifth with 59% trust. Greenpeace came in with a somewhat surprising 56% trust. I say surprising because the more controversial the organization, the lower its scores tended to be. The NRA and AFL-CIO came in at the bottom.
Part of the reason for the high TNC score may be a lack of familiarity. Only 47% of respondants said they were familiar with it. The groups with the highest negatives also had the highest level of familiarity. 90% of those polled knew what the NRA was, 81% know Greenpeace.
An interesting breakdown shows that Democrats & Independents trust TNC the most... at 85% & 80%. Republicans lagged behind at 68%. (Republicans liked the Chamber of Commerce & the Business Roundtable the most).
So the poll indicates both good things, and work for TNC, (as well as the Sierra Club).
The good news is that the recent Senate investigations and newspaper series haven't shaken the trust of people who know what TNC does, but only a bare majority of Americans are even familiar with the organization. So while there is work to be done, so far, so good.