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How can charity employers support employees through the cost-of-living crisis?

How can you help workers and volunteers facilitate the communities they serve as the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, whilst ensuring they themselves aren’t caught in the grips of the crisis? Annie Hayes shares some advice.

In March of this year, Caron Bradshaw, CEO of CFG, commented on the Chancellor’s Spring Statement saying:

“The country faces a catastrophic socioeconomic situation. The triple whammy of a cost-of-living crisis, rising inflation and a drop in real income will be devastating. Sadly, the Chancellor’s Spring Statement has failed to alleviate the very real concerns we all have, as organisations working for the benefit of others and as individuals.

“The Chancellor’s policies for tackling the crisis are welcome in as far as they go but he failed to seize the opportunity to go further and avoid deepening inequality. Positive steps include an extra £500m to local authorities through the Household Support Fund and an increase to the National Insurance threshold to £12,570.”

These comments outline the concerns that those in the sector feel for their veterans and beneficiaries and, as professionals themselves there are also real concerns. Here are some tips on how to help those that serve to ringfence their own financial wellbeing.

Provide a listening ear

There are charities that exist to help those struggling with financial debt and spiralling costs but in every charity and voluntary organisation it is always best practice to provide channels of support for workers too. An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can be fundamental in providing a neutral and non-judgemental source of financial advice. Many third sector workers are motivated by the charities they work for and take lower paid jobs than they could be earning in the private sector so when costs spiral the pinch is very real for them. For smaller charities where an EAP doesn’t exist, having a culture in which problems can be shared as well as providing mentors and points of contact can be just as beneficial.

Understand how to make your money work

Financial education is important. Many workers need advice on how to consolidate debt, get better interest rates on mortgages and credit cards, understand how to cut energy and mobile phone costs as well as how to save for the future and invest in the right things. Providing webinars, podcasts, financial planning talks and other literature is a great way of helping those looking for information. Simple tips such as savvy food shopping, cutting travel costs or shopping smart are other good ways of educating people to make their money work harder for them.

Provide salary sacrifice schemes

Cycle-to-work schemes and childcare vouchers are all ways of helping employees pay for costs, particularly those with parenting responsibilities. Non-cash benefits that are deducted directly from income is a great way of making regular payments while receiving the benefits and ensuring they will be paid off over time. Employee contributions to pensions may get slashed as workers prioritise energy and food costs but talking to workers on the scheme about the importance of saving for retirement is crucial as well as outlining ways they can temporarily reduce payments.

Keep talking

While pay may not be the motivating factor for third sector professionals, earning a living wage is. Talk to your staff about how best to help them. Allowing wage-earners to work remotely or in a hybrid pattern can help to cut unnecessary commuting costs. Providing free fruit and drinks at work and discounted food either from local eateries or in a staff canteen helps employees look after their health. Understand whether offering performance related pay for fundraisers or other roles is a welcome idea. Track wages and understand if they are still competitive and if increases can be kept in line with inflation. Evaluate the possibility of bonus schemes and pay for extra work.

 

Talk to us about how Third Sector can help you build and communicate your employer brand or recruitment marketing to the charity sector. Email Joe Edmonds or the charity finance jobs team to discuss your needs and bespoke special packages.

Read more about how to rethink your employer brand in this downloadable e-book from Wonderful Workplaces. And check out the latest jobs here.

This post was last reviewed on 16 May 2022 at 10:06
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