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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Source: State University Higher School of Economics – State University “Higher School of Economics” –

According to the results of an all-Russian survey conducted Center for Research on Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector HSE in 2023, 80% of Russians know or have at least heard something about non-profit organizations and initiatives in their city, village or town.

Compared to 2022, the share of those informed increased by 4 percentage points, while over the past 15 years it ranged from 71 to 85%. The most familiar to respondents are gardening and dacha partnerships (39% of respondents know about them) and trade unions (36%). In addition, approximately every third Russian knows about local societies for the disabled (32%) and branches of political parties (31%). More than a quarter of respondents named homeowners’ associations and housing-construction cooperatives (28%), house committees (28%), charitable organizations (27%), consumer protection societies (26%) and veterans’ associations (26%).

The share of those informed about the work of NPOs is especially high in cities with a population of over a million (90%), where there are generally more non-profit organizations than in smaller cities, and lower in urban settlements (59%) and villages (68%). The higher the level of education of the respondent, the more likely it is that he knows about the activities of NPOs in his locality: awareness varies from 67% among respondents with incomplete secondary education to 88% among those who received a university diploma. In addition, Russians with the worst financial situation, who do not have enough money even for food, are less likely to have an idea of NGOs and civil initiatives in their place of residence (65%).

Respondents who had heard about various non-profit organizations and initiatives in their community were asked where they learned about these organizations. Most often, Russians learn about the activities of NPOs from other people (58%). Word of mouth has remained a key source of information over the past 15 years. Materials on the Internet served as a source of information for 31% of respondents (over 15 years, the mention of this source of information has increased almost 10 times). 23% of respondents learned about their local NPOs from central newspapers, television and radio channels, and 22% from local media. Over the past three years, the role of local media has steadily declined, and in 2023, for the first time, they lost their role as a source of information, albeit very slightly, to the central media.

More than half of respondents (55%) trust NPOs of at least one type – this figure has remained virtually unchanged since 2020, remaining at 54%. Most often, respondents mention trade unions, gardening and dacha associations (14% each), consumer protection societies (12%), charitable organizations (11%), as well as societies for the disabled and veterans’ associations (10% each). If we talk about organizations to which respondents expressed active distrust, political parties (21% of respondents reported that they do not trust them) and religious organizations (21%) came in first place. In addition, trade unions have a contradictory reputation among the population: despite the fact that a significant proportion of respondents trust them, almost the same number (13%) of respondents expressed distrust in their address.

Approximately every fourth Russian (27%) participates in the activities of at least one non-profit organization. If before 2017 this figure fluctuated between 15–19%, then in the last six years it has not fallen below 24%, mostly remaining within 27–29%. Most often, Russians are involved in the activities of organizations related to the protection of property or labor rights and interests: gardening and dacha partnerships (8%), trade unions (7%) and homeowners’ associations, housing construction cooperatives (4%). Women are more likely than men to be involved in NGO activities (30% versus 22%), and young people under 24 years of age are least likely to participate (18% versus 26–29% among other age groups).

The most common form of interaction with NPOs is participation as a member of an organization or initiative. Approximately every tenth Russian (11%) participated in the activities of NGOs in this format. In addition, 8% of respondents participate in meetings and conferences held by NGOs, 7% helped as unpaid volunteers, and 6% supported with monetary donations. 40% of respondents would like to take part in the activities of local non-profit organizations and initiatives in the next 2-3 years, while Russians are equally ready to work both for pay and on a volunteer basis (12% of respondents each).

Despite the fact that only 12% of respondents expressed a desire to become a volunteer in the near future in a conditional local NGO, and 9% expressed a desire to help with money, the picture changes if you ask respondents to choose from a list of certain types of organizations that they are ready to help. In this case, 37% of respondents noted certain NGOs or initiatives where they are willing to work on a voluntary basis without receiving money for their work: most often these are charitable organizations (10%), societies for the disabled (7%), and garden and dacha partnerships (5%). 44% of respondents expressed a desire to help at least one organization from the list with money, primarily to charitable organizations (15%) and shares (7%), and disabled people’s societies (13%). The desire to help NGOs is higher among young people; in addition, the better the financial situation of respondents, the more often they express their willingness to help both as volunteers and as donors.

Irina Mersiyanova, Director of the Center for Research on Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector, National Research University Higher School of Economics

The level of trust in non-profit organizations and the willingness to participate in their activities are influenced by a variety of factors that are not always related to the activities of the NPOs themselves. Including the attitude towards non-profit organizations to some extent reflects the level of well-being of society. Poor health, low income, and low levels of education are sociodemographic characteristics associated with lower levels of trust in various types of non-profit organizations. On the contrary, people who are more prosperous, earn well, and are generally satisfied with life are less inclined to be suspicious of non-profit organizations, and also, having free financial and time resources, are more often willing to help them.

Note; This information is raw content directly from the source of the information. This is exactly what the source states and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

Please note; This information is raw content directly from the information source. It is accurate to what the source is stating and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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