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Are charity brands building a culture of trust within their own organisations?

The Drum 09 Oct 2019 09:00
By Kate Watson-09 October 2019 10:00am

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It is widely recognised that charities are seen as ‘brands’ - as with any other brand they need to stand out and have a unique identity in order to stand apart in a crowded marketplace. The charity market is one which is saturated, and are all vying for share of wallet to ultimately drive funding and support to those most in need.

Challenges of trust and justifying spend – but what about care of its own staff and building trust

The sector faces many other challenges it has to deal with and address, while trying to drive funding. While there have been many discussions and much attention surrounding public trust and justifying spend, with consumers wanting more transparency about how their money is spent, the charity sector still faces issues of trust and transparency.

We see conversations continue around public trust and spend, but what about looking more inwards to the needs of employees who drive those organisations forward – what about the culture of trust here?

As the focus on mental health and wellbeing grows, it naturally raises the question as to what is currently happening within the charity sector where such issues can be heightened due to the nature of the not-for-profit sector: Do staff feel supported and have the built-in trust of being cared for?

Lesley Dixon from social support charity PSS explains the importance of self-care which can improve the ability to cope with the stress that employees often experience. If this isn’t prioritised internally, it can have significant consequences for individuals working in the not-for-profit sector, for beneficiaries, and for the organisation itself.

Our findings: 'Opening the conversation: mental well-being at work'shows that two-thirds (67%) of UK workers have struggled with mental well-being.

Problem with openness

Staff not feeling they can be open about the struggles they face is still a key barrier. 28% of workers in the charity sector who have struggled with their mental well-being in the past 12 months took time off, almost half the amount for when they had a physical health problem (55%). Just over one in ten thought their employer wouldn’t understand, while 17% didn’t think it was a valid reason for taking time off.

“Policies and helplines tick boxes but there has to be empathy and genuine interest for staff to feel that wellbeing is being taken seriously”

“People who suffer from stress or anxiety and are open about it are thought of as weak and a liability”

Improving mental wellbeing and trust among staff doesn’t necessarily have to come with heavy investments. While we can’t deny that having certain initiatives and processes in place are crucial in supporting staff and wellbeing (e.g. counselling schemes, mentoring schemes, mental first aiders) developing and maintaining a culture of openness and acceptance of how mental health is viewed and from the top is crucial.

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PSSKate WatsonLina AbirafehLesley DixonUK