Fundraisers' stress levels on the rise

Survey by Third Sector and Birdsong Charity Consulting finds decline in staff satisfaction

Fundraisers are feeling increasingly stressed and overworked, according to the first results this week of a charity staff satisfaction survey.

Forty-three per cent of the 300 fundraisers who responded to this year's Charity Pulse survey, carried out by Third Sector and Birdsong Charity Consulting, said they felt stressed at work – up from 36 per cent in 2008 and 26 per cent in 2007.

Fifty-nine per cent said their workload was reasonable, the same figure as in 2008, but down from 69 per cent in 2007.

Staff satisfaction about training has also fallen: 54 per cent of respondents said they were happy with training and development in their organisations, down from 66 per cent the previous year. The proportion of people who felt supported in their career development has fallen 10 percentage points since 2008 to 42 per cent.

"It's partly because charities are cutting back on investment in training and putting personal development lower on the priority list," said Frances Hurst, founder of Birdsong. "Considering the economic climate, I think things are holding up very well. I thought we would see a bigger impact."

Thirty-four per cent of respondents said they were concerned about job security, and 35 per cent said they were concerned about the future of their charities.

Hurst said stress and workloads were increasing partly because fundraisers were keen to go the extra mile during tough times. "Some of it is probably driven by fear over job security, which is borne out in the figures," she said. "But most fundraisers are just very committed to their causes, and they are rising to the challenge."

On a positive note, 32 per cent of fundraisers strongly agreed that their organisations valued diversity, up 10 percentage points since 2007 and two points more than last year.

The average length of time staff stay in their jobs remained at 3.3 years, the same as in 2008. The average length of tenure for fundraisers based in London increased from 2.3 years in 2008 to 2.9 years in 2009.

Hannah Jordan recommends

Birdsong Charity Consulting

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