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A new study for the Law Family Commission on Civil Society has found that three-quarters of charity leaders in the UK are worried that staff are at risk of burnout due to pressures brought on by the pandemic.
More than half of the leaders surveyed say their charities have faced a surge in demand for support since the start of the pandemic last year. And almost half of charity chiefs cite concerns about the wellbeing of their volunteers.
The study echoes new findings from the 2021 Nonprofit Pulse report from EFA and Salesforce.Org, which reveals that workloads are rising and pressures on staff have increased, meaning that managing workload has overtaken concerns about raising enough money as the most prevalent challenge for nonprofits across Europe.
UK findings from the Law Family Commission on Civil Society
YouGov polling for the Commission, shows that 6 in 10 charity leaders believe the situation is set to worsen over winter due to a “perfect storm” of rising demand and funding constraints. In fact, 40% of charity leaders do not expect to have the capacity to meet growing demand over the winter.
Demand for charity support is expected to rise in response to cost of living increases, NHS backlogs and cuts to services provided by other agencies, according to the study.
At the same time, many charities are simultaneously having to deal with a large drop in funding, with research charity Pro Bono Economics estimating that the sector could be heading into winter with a permanent £6.6 billion (or €7.8 billion) gap in public giving because of the pandemic.
Social services charities and health charities expect to be among the worst-hit by rising demand over the winter.
Matt Whittaker, LFCCS Commissioner and CEO of Pro Bono Economics, said:
“The pandemic created an unprecedented crisis for the country’s charities, with demand for their help rocketing at precisely the time that many of them faced a sharp squeeze on resources. It is a testament to the strength and resilience of the sector that it has continued to undertake so much vital work in the face of such challenges.
“After 20 months of upheaval from the pandemic, it is clear from this study for the Law Family Commission on Civil Society that charities are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain their activity. Sector leaders have told us they are bracing for a perfect storm of pressures this winter, which many do not expect to have the capacity to meet.
“Ultimately, overcoming these challenges means ensuring more resources make their way into charities from government, funders and the public. But it’s important too that we recognise the importance of the sector to our wider national outlook – particularly its potential to boost our post-pandemic recovery – by overturning the policy neglect it has suffered from for far too long.”
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