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The "cost" of Fundraiser Stress


The average salary of a UK Fundraiser in 2019 was £29,000 (source here)

26% of Fundraisers have taken time off in their current role with work-related stress, anxiety or depression (source here - and pre-covid stats)

Only 23% of fundraisers have never experienced significant or prolonged work-related burnout, anxiety or stress (source here - and pre-covid stats!)

The average amount of time off for episodes of work-related stress, anxiety or depression, for people in the UK is 21.6 days (source here) - that’s approx one working month


If we put all of these (averages) stats together and apply them to a fairly typical Fundraising team (approx 15 people), it is fair to suggest that

26% of the team will need time off for work related stress anxiety or depression while in their current role (26% of a team of 15 is 3.9)

The average amount of time off with stress per episode is one working month (the cost of their salary for that month is £2,416)

In the month leading up to the absence, it is reasonable to suggest they were not able to deliver at their best (assume a modest sliding scale of decreasing productivity 75%, 50%, 25%) - ‘cost’ = £1,208

When they return to work it is also reasonable to suggest that are not working at full strength / delivering their best for on average another 4 weeks (assume increasing productivity at 25%, 50%, 75% across this 4 week period) - cost = £1,208

Total financial cost of working days lost to organisation per fundraiser per one episode of stress absence = £4,832

Impact on Team

If one member of a team of 15 is working under pressure and stress that results in absence, it is also reasonable to suggest that they are not alone. We know that from the research stats, on average, 4 of a team of 15 will have periods of absence for work-related stress.

But it is also reasonable to suggest that one person’s absence also has an impact on the stress levels of others. In fact, we also know from the work we’ve done in the last 4 years, that the resulting increased pressure on others is a common reason why those who are stressed and at increased risk of burnout are reluctant to take the break they need

If one person does take time off, it is entirely possible that the effect of their absence, and the work that still needs to be done in their absence, could cause a domino effect through other members of the team

Non-salary cost

The fact of the matter is that salary cost (or loss of benefit from cost) isn’t the biggest cost that impacts the organisation. The loss of any staff member for one month means that even with others adding to their own workloads, there will still be some elements that simply don’t get done.

For teams and organisations already working at and beyond capacity, this has implications for delivery, for results and for impact


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