Morale plummets among fundraisers, survey shows

The quality of leadership is one of the major areas for concern among fundraisers, according to the results of the Charity Pulse poll

Survey finds morale is low
Survey finds morale is low

Fundraisers suffered a sharp fall in morale and job satisfaction over the past year, according to this year’s Charity Pulse survey.

The survey, run by Third Sector and Birdsong Charity Consulting, gathered opinions from 579 charity staff in 170 organisations, including 246 fundraisers.

Fifty per cent of the fundraisers polled say morale at their charity is low, compared with 28 per cent of respondents last year.

The survey shows that the proportion who would recommend their charity as an employer has fallen from 73 per cent in 2011 to 52 per cent this year.

The proportion of fundraisers who say they plan to be working at their charity in a year’s time has also tumbled from 59 per cent last year to 47 per cent in the latest poll.

Charity leadership is one of the major areas for concern among fundraisers, the research shows. Confidence in senior managers and their effectiveness has fallen from 59 per cent in 2011 to 45 per cent this year. One fundraiser cites "unrealistic expectations of fundraising" as the reason for their dissatisfaction.

People management is another area of concern. Only 51 per cent of the fundraisers polled say they think their views are listened to and valued – the lowest figure in the survey’s six-year history, down from 70 per cent last year.

The proportion of fundraisers who do not feel they can challenge working practices at their charity has jumped from 18 per cent in 2011 to 38 per cent this year.

Frances Hurst, co-founder of Birdsong Charity Consulting, said the results should serve as a warning. "I think it’s too soon to call this a crisis, but it should serve as a heads-up to charity leaders," she said. "Fundraisers are clearly feeling the pressure, and the fall in satisfaction levels is worse than in any other survey year."

Hurst said dissatisfaction in the workplace could easily be addressed if fundraisers’ managers adopted more inclusive and consultative management styles.

"There is a real opportunity to boost staff retention and morale if managers take a closer look at how they work with their people – and it wouldn’t cost them any money," she said.

- See the full results of the Charity Pulse survey

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