Resources and advocacy for the mental health and wellbeing of social sector professionals and volunteers.
In 2020, our charity, Benefolk Foundation undertook 2 research studies (RESET 2020 National Impact + Need Research Study). This was the first time Australian social sector workers were asked about their mental health and wellbeing. The results were concerning; 45% of respondents often or always felt stressed or anxious and 41% felt frustrated, cynical or exhausted. This data was a wake up call and provided part of the evidence base for our responses below.
As someone who has been a CEO in the charities sector for over 30 years, and CEO of CCA for 10 years, I know firsthand the pre-existing systematic challenges, and indeed new challenges, that are impacting our sector and its people. These challenges directly impact organisational and individual wellbeing and resilience. We have previously been involved promoting the value of Benefolk Foundation’s collaborations to our members and the broader charities sector. At CCA we have drawn on the RESET 2020 data and know that the findings it provided provoked many positive conversations both within charities and beyond.
CEO, Community Council of Australia
The RESET 2020 initiative was an innovative and collaborative COVID sector response. The theory of change was based on ‘change through collaboration’ and has been widely hailed as a flagship project that supported, enabled and influenced policymakers, organisation leaders and grantmakers alike during an unprecedented year of turbulence. The Foundation 2025 Strategy will ensure that the wellbeing focus of the 1.2 million employees and 3-4 million volunteers in the sector are not overlooked by the needs of our beneficiaries. The RESET 2020 research showed us that we need to prioritise the systemic causes of burnout in the sector.
GM Trusts & Philanthropy, Equity Trustees
I am proud to be inaugural Chair of Benefolk Foundation which is working collaboratively with sector partners to address the very complex, and urgent issue of social sector burnout. It is no longer acceptable – indeed, the elephant in the room – that social sector organisations, their staff and volunteers are on a perpetual mental health rollercoaster. There is much we can do to improve mental health wellbeing, and in turn, improve social and community outcomes.
Foundation Chair, Former CEO of Philanthropy Australia