Blackbaud’s webinar on The Future of Work looks at the impact of the pandemic on charities, how people are adapting to flexible working, digital transformation in the charity sector, and much more
Hope is firmly on the horizon. The vaccine programme is in full swing, the country has started to open up, and social distancing is easing. For many charity professionals, the return to the office may be just around the corner.
The new normal will fade, but it is unlikely that we will return to the old normal. Instead, we have reached a watershed moment in working culture. Over the past year, charity employees have experienced massive shifts in expectations. Employers must adapt existing working principles, meeting the demands of staff and volunteers.
In partnership with The Resource Alliance, Blackbaud Europe have recently published a webinar exploring The Future of Work, which discussed some of the essential findings from their recent Future of Work report. The report was based on a survey of more than 800 fundraising professionals and in-depth interviews with eight charity leaders.
In this article, we discuss some of the findings discussed in the webinar, including the impact of the pandemic on charity professionals, likely predictions about the future of flexible working, and the importance of choosing the right tech to support staff.
People’s wellbeing suffered as a result of the pandemic. 79% of respondents to the survey said that they were worried about the effect of the pandemic on their life, a statistic that runs in common with the UK. 48% said that their overall wellbeing has deteriorated during the pandemic.
These statistics are not particularly surprising. The pandemic has had a massive effect on charity workers, but it has also shown their resilience. The Future of Work report demonstrates that most charities have worked hard to make things easier for their employees during a particularly difficult moment in history.
For example, 83% of respondents said that their employers had shown care and concern about wellbeing. 90% agreed that their employer is treating them fairly. And 94% feel trusted by their manager to do their job. Such statistics show that, despite the challenges, most charities are supporting staff, demonstrating care and concern, and upholding trust.
Brian J. Higgins, CEO of The Resource Alliance, says: “We can be encouraged by the levels of positivity that the majority of respondents felt towards their organisations.”
Employers can continue to support staff by listening to their concerns post-pandemic. One of the most pressing concerns, according to the report, was over the future of flexible working.
Perhaps the biggest change for charity workers during COVID-19 was the switch to remote working. The much-touted ‘return to the office’ is on the horizon, but the Future of Work report shows that any large-scale return seems unlikely. Simply put, charity professionals seem to really like working from home. 74% of respondents said that they enjoyed working from home and 80% said that they want to work from home more in the future.
Perhaps the most important takeaway was the popularity of flexible working. 90% of respondents said that they want flexible working to continue long-term, even when the pandemic is a distant memory. That does not mean they want to work entirely from home, but there is an overwhelming desire for charities to adopt flexible working practices.
Interestingly, 43% of people said that they would never apply for a job that is entirely office-based. Charities should be struck by that figure, aware that a potentially huge talent pool could be lost if some form of flexible working is not on offer. For charities trying to attract the best people, offering flexible working practices may become a point of necessity.
It’s important to note that charity professionals do face some problems when working remotely. The Future of Work report demonstrated that access to the right technology was one of the biggest problems.
Inadequate software and hardware were commonly cited problems. In fact, nearly a quarter of those who wanted to return to the office said that the reason was insufficient access to software. That’s an important takeaway for charities and fundraising professionals, as it shows how to make flexible working more sustainable and productive.
87% of fundraising professionals told Blackbaud that technology had been a key factor in being able to work effectively from home, with a further 83% citing the cloud-based technology in particular has proved to be essential while working remotely.
Charities need to ensure their employees have access to the right technology, particularly if flexible working will form such an important part of the future. It’s perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that 64% of decision makers said that, due to the pandemic, they are planning to invest more in technology.
Listen to the webinar and check out the Future of Work report today