With budgets tight, charities need to find a way of reducing costs whilst continuing to meet the expectations and demands of the public. This at a time when people want to access support services 24 hours a day, any day of the week. Whilst charities want to meet the needs of all their service users, funding issues mean that they are not always able to do this.
Mental health charity Mind has seen a rise in the number of calls they receive each year but are not able to respond to this demand. The number of calls they receive related to finance and employment issues has doubled since 2008. Over the last year, it has received over 40,000 enquiries. However 40% of calls go unanswered. Its Chief Executive Paul Farmer says:
“As we head back into recession, we are seeing an ever growing need for what we have to offer… At the same time the local Mind network is facing the challenging situation of increased demand for services and potential cuts to funding”*
Research recently conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development* revealed that while 26% of workers experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives, the majority do not feel comfortable disclosing this to their employer. It is therefore no surprise that people turn to charity helplines for support, advice and guidance. This applies especially during the evening and overnight when the working day is over.
Whilst many charities are currently operating their helpline during office hours, there are a number of benefits to a 24 hour helpline. It improves the user experience by offering more choice as to when services can be accessed, which caters to people’s busy schedules and expectations. Charities that offer a helpline during office hours are often under pressure and overstretched by the number of calls they receive. Extending to a 24 hour service can be done without need to employ extra members of staff and peaks in demand are more easily met – helping more people make positive changes in their lives.
Through its multi-channel helplines, Connect Assist is already helping charities and public sector organisations reach their service users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For further information, go to http://www.connectassist.co.uk/third-sector/multi-channel-helplines/
If you are interested in attending our seminar on 11 July to find out what latest developments, resources and support is on offer to help your organisation deliver efficient online and social media services, go to:
*Focus on mental health in the workplace, Employee Outlook, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development