Guide Dogs Australia has been as named Australia’s Most Trusted Charity Brand for the sixth year in a row.
The Reader’s Digest’s Trusted Brands survey has been held annually for the past 19 years, with a charity category added in 2013.
On Tuesday, Guide Dogs Australia was named as the most trusted charity for the sixth year straight, edging out Cancer Council Australia and the RSPCA which were “highly commended”.
Guide Dogs Victoria CEO Karen Hayes said this recognition highlighted the growing importance of trust between the public and brands, especially for those within the not-for-profit sector.
“At a time where many areas of society are being questioned for their transparency, it’s a reminder of the value of trust and reliability, especially in our industry. To be named most trusted charity for the sixth year in a row is a testament to the integrity of the work our team has done for the community on a consistent basis,” Hayes said.
“While there are no magic bullets to establishing trust, there are three fundamentals we as an organisation believe are vital: authenticity, consistency and transparency. Trust is at the heart of everything we do, especially between a person with blindness or low vision and their guide dog.
“This trust extends to the community, who love to see our iconic guide dogs out and about with their handler. We frequently hear from locals who have spotted a working dog – it’s a rare opportunity for people to see a cause they support in action.”
We’ve done it again! Guide Dogs Australia has just been announced as @ReadersDigest’s 2018 Most Trusted Charity Brand for the 6th year running! We would like to thank everyone who voted for us again this year. Find out more > https://t.co/CTBQRkBOJl pic.twitter.com/bLKNknyzfU
— Guide Dogs Victoria (@GuideDogsVIC) May 21, 2018
The Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey was independently conducted by Roy Morgan Research and included a cross-section of 2,450 Australians.
Respondents complimented Guide Dogs Australia for their longevity, impact and “great work in the community”.
Hayes said the work undertaken by Guide Dogs Australia was vital.
“Every day, 28 Australians are diagnosed with sight loss, including nine who become blind, and without the ongoing trust and support of the community, we would not be able to continue our important work,” she said.
“Guide dogs are so much more than navigation dogs. Many of us think of a guide dog as a Labrador in harness guiding the handler to a destination, but these dogs also provide a real sense of security, companionship and confidence that cannot be matched.”
Guide Dogs Victoria client Dorothy Docherty lost her vision suddenly at 49 after suffering an acquired brain injury that affected her whole body.
Walking, talking and getting around without vision all had to be learned from scratch, and she commended the help guide dogs had provided her with.
“Before I met my first guide dog, I didn’t have the courage to leave the house,” Docherty said.
“I wholeheartedly trust that Anya can guide me safely from A to B – there was a time where I gave her the command to move forward to cross a busy intersection – the crossing ‘beeps’ told me it was safe but Anya refused the command and physically blocked my path.
“I am incredibly thankful she didn’t obey me, because a large truck ran the red light. I wouldn’t be here today without her.”
There are more than 450,000 people in Australia with low vision or blindness, and the number of people requiring guide dogs is set to double by 2020.
Hayes said the charity was in need of more people to voluntarily raise their puppies for the first 12 months of their lives.
“Guide Dogs Australia is desperate for more puppy raiser applications, with around 200 puppies currently looking for homes across the country,” she said.
“One question I’m always asked is ‘how do puppy raisers give the puppies back after the 12-months?’, but it’s important to remember, you’re not giving them back, you’re giving them forward. Enabling them to go on and change someone’s life, and that’s something to be proud of.
“We’re calling on all Australians to ask for their support, and help us to enable people with low vision or who are blind to achieve amazing things through greater independence and mobility.”