Staff burnout 'significant threat' for around half of charities

Almost half of charities see staff burnout amid the Covid-19 pandemic as “a significant threat to their operations, a survey has revealed.

Remote working, redundancies and increased demand have taken their toll on the mental health of charity staff, the Charity Risk Barometer by voluntary sector insurer Ecclesiastical has found.

Among respondents, 44% see burnout as a significant threat to their operations and two thirds said staff are experiencing an increase in stress levels.

Measures charities are putting on place to help staff include flexible working arrangements, which is cited by 75% of charities. Meanwhile, around a half (52%) have a wellbeing policy and a similar proportion (46%) are offering counselling.

“With charities trying to do more with less, as well as the challenges of working remotely through lockdown, keeping staff happy and healthy is seen as a key priority for charities as they continue to navigate the pandemic,” said the insurer.

The survey also found that 71% of charities believe Covid-19 is a concern for the future of their organisation and around a third (34%) have seen a drop in fundraising.

Charities are adapting to “new ways of working” said the insurer, with 83% moving operations online.

Ecclesiastical charity director Angus Roy added: “The findings from this research make for sobering reading, but they’re no surprise given the extraordinary year we’ve had.

“Charities have become used to dealing with challenges, but this year has given us a perfect storm of a loss of funding through fundraising activities, a reduction in giving from corporate partners, as well as the general public, and an increase in need has left many charities at crisis point.

“It isn’t all doom and gloom though and what we have seen is charities rising to the challenge, through a mix of innovation, resourcefulness and determination and that gives us hope for the future.”

The Charity Risk Barometer involves a survey of 250 charities through YouGov.

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