The third sector think tank asked more than 1,000 people to explain what makes them trust a charity.
Only four per cent of those asked said celebrity support improved their trust in a charity. Five per cent were swayed by TV advertising and seven per cent by partnerships with a well-known company.
Rather than media glitz, public trust in charities was inspired by the quality of its fundraising standards (46 per cent), previous personal contact (39 per cent) or contact via a friend or family member (38 per cent). Many people also trusted charities if they had been established a long time ago (38 per cent).
It is the first time nfpSynergy has asked the question. Jonathan Baker, nfpSynergy researcher, said: 'The sector must surely learn from the mistakes of MPs over expenses and seize the initiative to get its own professional house in order now.'
He argued that it was important for charities to be seen to be improving fundraising standards in order to retain public trust.
Baker added: 'It is quite possible that all charities may soon be expected by the public - perhaps even by the Government - to sign up to national fundraising standards, and the sector should be perceived to be moving towards this goal with enthusiasm.'