Wellbeing and fundraising

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Fundraising is a hugely exciting, rewarding, and skilled profession. But it is also one that can be demanding, involving, and pressured. For fundraisers to be able to do your best work for the causes and charities you work for, you need to make sure you are looking after your own, and your colleagues’, wellbeing.

This is true at all times, but during particularly difficult periods it becomes even more important – periods of prolonged pressure or stress can have a more profound impact on individuals. Fundraisers will be dealing with a whole number of issues – the run up to a launch of a public appeal that has been months in preparation; the exposure and closeness to causes and beneficiaries and the emotions that triggers; pressure or management issues from senior colleagues or trustees to hit targets; some difficult conversations with supporters or others; as well as what’s happening in their personal lives. Thinking about wellbeing in fundraising is not one thing, and there is not one solution: it is a whole approach supporting fundraisers in an inclusive way.

Everyone in a charitable organisation deserves and needs to be treated with respect, fairness, and consideration, and where circumstances put extra demands on us, or increase stress (both professionally and personally) making sure that fundraisers are properly supported is essential. A burnt-out workforce is one that isn’t sustainable – our causes and beneficiaries need to be able to rely on the income and work of our fundraisers for the longer-term. Looking after and supporting the wellbeing of fundraisers is crucial to delivering your charitable mission.

Research conducted by Claire Warner, which received responses from 700 fundraisers, showed that less than a third (30%) agreed that “my organisation has a great health and wellbeing culture” and cited poor management and leadership leading to high turnover. With the research having been carried out in 2019 – before the COVID-19 pandemic – it shows that the issues raised are prevalent in ‘business as normal’ times, and so are likely to be more embedded within the culture and behaviours of organisations. A behavioural and cultural response is needed, not a quick fix, and as the professional membership body for fundraisers across the UK, the Chartered Institute wants to see every fundraiser supported and able to work in a way that enhances their wellbeing and enables them to deliver best for their organisation.

This resource by no means covers the full picture of wellbeing within fundraising. If you’d like to contribute, please get in touch by emailing policy@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk

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