The Government must "take every step possible" to preserve jobs in the sector during the recession, according to a new trade union report.
The Recession Charter, published by Unite, calls for a series of high-level ministerial meetings throughout 2009 to ensure there is action to save charity jobs.
The union wants longer funding streams of five to 10 years, the right to accredited training for every employee in the sector and strategies to reduce stress at work.
"In the sector there's always a focus on end users, and that's absolutely right, and a growing focus on volunteers, which is fantastic, but the workforce itself isn't at the front of the agenda," said Rachael Maskell, national officer for the not-for-profit sector at Unite. "It's time there was investment in the workforce."
The report criticises the Government's £42.5m action plan for the sector for ignoring the needs of sector workers.
As well as calling for government action, the Unite report also says charities should take more responsibility for keeping employees in work. "We know that many organisations are looking to cut terms and conditions and blaming the recession for this," the report says.
Maskell said charities should be encouraged to "passport" employees into other, similar organisations rather than making redundancies. "Redundancy is sometimes the easy option," she said.