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Most Hungarians would support CSOs, according to study

A new study, commissioned by Civilisation coalition and Political Capital says that some 70% of Hungarians are willing to support a civil society organization (CSO) in the future.

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The study found that more than 1/10 of the respondents (or someone they directly know) has already received help from a CSO. Addotinialy, every third respondent has already supported an organization.

The study itself is based on a representative opinion survey conducted by the Medián polling agency, and shows that the concept of a CSO is rather vague. People - appropriately - tend to identify associations and foundations with CSOs, particularly if their status is apparent in the name of the organization.

At the same time, both the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, but even the Red Cross was guessed to be a CSO by only 50% of the respondents. On the other end of the spectrum, 75% do not consider trade unions, chambers of commerce and employer organizations as CSOs.

The study says that people think civil society actors should most importantly provide help for those in need, and offer the opportunity for citizens to take action for the common good. In addition, the majority of respondents believe that CSOs discuss political issues as well. Even pro-government voters, to a lesser degree than opposition voters, consider it necessary that CSOs speak up in public matters and offer proposals to politicians and state institutions.

About two-thirds of the respondents say that CSOs should call attention to the shortcomings of and errors made by state institutions and the government. This view is even shared by 60% of pro-government voters.

The vast majority (70%) of people show willingness to support CSOs in the future, although only 36% did so earlier, mostly by assigning 1% of their personal income tax to them. According to responses, people who do not help justify it with lack of time, little knowledge about CSOs and their respective work, while distrust or skepticism about the effectiveness of CSOs plays a role only about a quarter of the people.

This is in line with another finding of the survey, as only every third respondent, was able to name a national level CSO. Even fewer people could name a local one. 

Readiness to help CSOs shows a great variety depending on the subject. Most people would support organizations working for the protection of the environment, children’s rights, and health care, while LGBT and ethnic minority issues are the least popular.

The study also says that commitment towards a CSO increases with experience in civil society: those who helped an organization once, are much more likely to do so in the future, too - regardless of the subject.