Charity Digital - Crisis Control: Burnout in the Charity Sector, August 2023

National newscaster Charity Digital have released a podcast talking about how stress is affecting the charity sector and what charities can do to prevent it in the future.

If you talk with anyone right now in the charity sector, there’s a good chance they’d tell you they are exhausted.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The demands and workloads of the charity sector were overwhelming even before the pandemic. And with the current cost of living crisis, charities are stretched now more than ever as they try to do with less.

And this is where burnout can become an imminent threat.

As reported previously, in February 2022 it was officially found over 80% of voluntary and community sector leaders were concerned about staff burnout.

So, what can be done about this?

Explaining Burnout
Whilst they can be seen as having similar traits and characteristics, burnout is completely different to stress.

Burnout cannot be defined as a mental health diagnosis, like depression or anxiety, but it can be seen as a collection of symptoms that leaves people feeling physically or emotionally exhausted.

The symptoms can include:
  • Feeling trapped and defeated
  • Feeling drained and helpless
  • Being cynical and/or negative, or being more irritable than usual
  • Feeling detached and alone, and
  • Feeling totally exhausted
Granted, everybody would experience these feelings at some point in their life. But if these symptoms continue unchecked, they could indicate or lead to a bigger problem.

Causes of Burnout
There is no one cause to burnout, and there can be many triggers that people should be aware of which lead to it.

It could come from a lack of adequate social support, or taking on more than someone can handle whether they are at work, at school, or on a personal or social level with friends or family.

It can even be caused by poor self-care.

What can be done about Burnout?
Whilst burnout can feel like a logical response to the state or the situation that someone finds themselves in, it is just as important to be aware of and know about the help that is out there.

It certainly pays to have that positive culture where people normalise and can openly discuss mental health.

As an example, in a work environment an individual should be able to talk with their manager, their supervisor, or trusted colleague about how they’re feeling.

They should then have the opportunity to be referred to useful resources (like getting professional counselling) to relieve some of their pressure, if not have their working hours or workload altered to help them.

Newscaster Charity Digital discuss recommendations like this and more in their recent podcast which explores how stress is affecting the charity sector, and what charities can do to prevent it in the future.

To listen to the podcast, visit the Charity Digital website.