Job – Business Development Manager

In order to drive the future development of Fundraising Ireland, the Board now wish to appoint a Business Development Manager, on a six month service contract initially, whose role will involve close liaison with the Board in the development of the FI strategic plan; creation and growth of a comprehensive membership offering; establishment of a sound funding model for FI expansion; networking and relationship building within the sector. 

 Key Skills & Competencies

 The successful candidate should have a good knowledge of the not-for-profit sector and a proven track record in sales and new business development.  You should have a strong understanding of FI’s role in the market and you should possess good project management skills with a keen eye on attaining measurable outcomes.  Experience of financial management, planning and budgetary controls is essential.

This challenging and busy position offers the right candidate the opportunity to develop the FI organisation during their initial contract period.

A detailed job description can be downloaded from and shoud be read before applying. Applications must be made by email, attaching your Curriculum Vitae and short covering note, together with the names and contact details of two referees to

Closing date for receipt of applications is 12pm (noon) on Thursday 11th March 2010. Interviews will take place on Thursday 18th March 2010.

Fundraising Ireland Conference

Fundraising Ireland really are going from strength to strength and have annouced a great line up for this years conference. And Ask Direct, one of the sponsors, have some tickets to give away
Check it out here:

In the minds of Major Donors……

I am always intrigued about what goes on in the minds of Major Donors and what makes them tick, and ticked off! This is a great piece from Third Sector that talks to 3 well known major givers, interestingly they all prefer to work through their own foundations (what does that say about what we do and how we are set up?). Reading the article I was struck with how a like they really are to every other donor we have, and why wouldn’t they be, just because they have a few extra 000’s in the bank! They like to know whats happening their money and they really like to be thanked.

James Caan, Sara Davenport and Alec Reed: Inside the minds of major givers

By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector, 22 February 2010

They like to know how their money is being spent, they like to be thanked and they don’t like waste. Kaye Wiggins interviews three leading philanthropists and compares and contrasts how they do things

Charities and philanthropists should be the perfect partners: philanthropists have the cash and the desire to change the world; charities have the tools with which to do it.

In reality, however, relations between the two are rarely so straightforward. Wealthy people have often made their fortunes by keeping a close eye on how their money is spent and are reluctant to give it away with no control over what happens to it.

For their part, charities are often nervous about approaching major givers, many of whom choose to keep a low profile because they’re uncomfortable with publicity or worried about getting inundated with requests.

The three philanthropists interviewed below have a lot in common. All have set up their own charities and none is a regular giver to charitable organisations other than their own. They also share an interest in making sure donations are spent effectively and have an impact at the grass roots. Although they are not necessarily against charities spending a lot on fundraising and administration, they share the sentiment that donors’ money shouldn’t be wasted on spending that isn’t vital.

They also have bugbears about how charities work. Whether it’s being stopped by chuggers, overcharged for black-tie events or not properly thanked, they are sometimes annoyed by the way charities approach them.

But they are broadly sympathetic to the work of charities and, although they aren’t regular givers, they offer time, expertise and, where possible, publicity to the charities that grab their attention.

The philanthropists also share with other donors a desire to be thanked – and even flattered – by the charities they support. Reed says he gets excited when he is asked to become patron of a charity he has supported, acknowledging that it’s a clever move by the charity because it doesn’t cost a penny.

But there are also big differences between the philanthropists. Caan and Davenport are motivated to support charities by a personal connection to the cause area: Caan chose The Big Issue because of a belief in self-help and entrepreneurism, and Davenport focused on cancer because of the illness of her children’s nanny. But Reed’s approach is much broader: if a charity is smart, efficient and businesslike, it wins his approval – as long as it’s not a religious charity.

Charities hoping to get a philanthropist on board would do well, it seems, to start by understanding what that person values, in both business and personal life. And once you do understand them, says Reed, you should be “intelligently close” to them. “Treat major givers as you’d treat a friend,” he says. “It’s fine to contact them regularly, as long as they’ve got time for it. But if they go quiet for a while, don’t forget about them – you should still find a way to show them they’re appreciated.”


Caan became famous as one of the ‘dragons’ in the BBC series Dragons’ Den. He founded the private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw, the recruitment company Alexander Mann and the headhunting firm Humana International. He runs his own charity, the James Caan Foundation, which operates in the UK and Pakistan. He was appointed chair of The Big Issue in December last year.

I give my money away through my own foundation, so I don’t tend to donate money to other charities. Like my businesses, my foundation has a very focused approach: it concentrates on education and it funds the running of a school in Pakistan. So the support I give to other charities is expertise rather than money. I’m on the NSPCC’s fundraising committee and I’ve got some big ideas for expanding The Big Issue internationally. Usually, I choose to support charities because of their cause. With The Big Issue, it’s about entrepreneurship. With the NSPCC, it’s because I have children, so the cause resonates with my own life. I’ve also supported Marie Curie Cancer Care because I’ve seen how much the charity has helped people close to me who have suffered from cancer.

Professionalism also has a big influence on me when I decide which charities to support: I think charities should be run like businesses, and I’d be more likely to get involved with a charity that was professionally run. But that doesn’t mean wasting money on running its own organisation at the expense of the cause. It means finding innovative ways to cover costs, such as investing in property and using the rental income to fund the organisation.

I’m not an impulsive donor. I don’t give money to charities whose campaigns catch my eye: my giving is part of an overall strategy. If you do it any other way, you end up giving lots of money to lots of people and you don’t know whether it makes any difference. I like to be closer to the cause than that. Philanthropy is an important part of my life, and I’m spending more time on it now than I ever have before.


Davenport, who used to own an art gallery, set up the charity Breast Cancer Haven in 2000. It provides support, information and complementary therapies to breast cancer sufferers and runs centres in London, Hereford and Leeds.

I never intended to set up my own charity; I would have been happy to give my money to the ones that were already there. But the terrible experience my children’s nanny had when she suffered from breast cancer convinced me that a new solution was needed.

She wasn’t given proper information about treatments and the services charities offered her were scattered and tiny. I decided there needed to be one centre in which a range of services for breast cancer sufferers were available under one roof.

I contacted all the breast cancer charities, thinking that if I offered to give them the money, they’d set up a centre. But they weren’t interested. I knew nothing about charities or breast cancer. But I knew that I’d be deeply distressed if a member of my family had a similar experience to that of my nanny. And I knew that I had to do something. I sold my paintings at auctions and I launched a fundraising campaign that raised £1m in a year.

Since I opened the charity, it’s grown quickly. If someone approached me now, offering to give us money for a specific project in the same way that I did years ago, I’d listen.

I give to other charities quite randomly. If a particular appeal touches me, I donate. I like Zane, the Zimbabwe crisis charity, because it’s small so the money goes directly to the cause.

The thing that annoys me the most about charities is chuggers. Getting accosted in the street upsets me because it’s so invasive. When it happens to me, I tell myself I’ll never support that charity again. Cold calling is the same. The way to get me on board is with good literature; direct mail that is emotive and tells me a story will catch my eye. If it doesn’t, I’ll just throw it out.


Reed set up the recruitment firm Reed in 1960, when he was 26 years old, and later established the firms Inter-Company Comparisons and Medicare. He founded poverty charity Ethiopiaid and Women at Risk, which helps vulnerable women. He also set up the Reed Foundation and the donor information website The Big Give.

When I sold the medical firm Medicare for £20m in 1986, I got £5m of it personally, so I set up the charity Ethiopiaid and invested £1m in it. I like to make the pound work. I gave £1m to Ethiopiaid 20 years ago, and it’s sent £25m to Ethiopia since then. That’s why I set up The Big Give’s match-funding challenge, which gives match funding to charities that meet targets they set. It makes charities work for their money and it rewards fundraising departments that are on their toes. It’s democratic and it lets people decide where our money goes. The only exception is that religious organisations such as churches and synagogues can’t be part of The Big Give. I’m not religious, so I don’t include them.

Fundraisers are the nicest people on earth, but they do things that annoy me. When a charity to which I’ve donated large sums calls me and tries to sell me a ticket to a fancy event for a few thousand pounds, I think it’s rude. They should use those events to thank big donors, not to get more money out of them. It also annoys me when charities drop you from their major donor list if you haven’t given for a year, because this ruptures the relationship with you unnecessarily. Good major fundraisers are intelligently close to you. They’re looking for a long-term relationship and they treat you as a best friend. You wouldn’t strike an old friend off if you hadn’t seen them for a year, so why do it to a donor?

I’m not prescriptive about the causes I will fund – The Big Give proves that – but I am careful about making sure charities spent the money well. I once gave £250,000 to one of Ethiopiaid’s charity partners and they spent it on a posh office. That was the last money they got from me

More Corporate Voting Campaigns

I spoke before about the fact tha companies are going down the route now of asking their customers to vote for a cause that they want their funds to go to. There is something about it that I dont like, it pitches needy organisations against eachother in a form of popularity contest and in many ways it seems likely that the bigger ones (logically they will have more supporters) will win the big bucks. Maybe doesnt seem fair. I understand the thinking behind it from the companies perspective, but then wonder how does the random charity that gets selected really match up with their needs. I would rather a company to make a strategic descision on its charity partner and to commit to them over a long term period, make a difference, have an impact. But this voting thing is the reality we are faced as charities, so we need to find embrace it, I guess!

Anyway what made me post about it today was this from Irish bank AIB. In many ways I like what they are doing, they are committing to fund a project local to each one of their branches,  they have come up with a short list of 3 in each area and are asking customers to vote. So one wins 5k and then 2nd place gets 3 and 3rd place gets 2k…this I like a lot. I do like the map they have on their site and that you can go to your local branch and look at who is up for the money and you can vote, I would love to know more about the local causes though.

Any other examples of these kinds of campaigns? Any that you think have really got it right?

Earth Hour 2010

The video is great, the website is just as good. I love the simplicity of switching off lights to make a point. I hope they arent doing concerts this year, that never made sense to me. Anyway log on to the site and put in your name and location and comit to switch off on March 27th

The Fundraising Bubble

Im just back from almost a month off work , and yes I know how lucky I am, but there was a good reason for it. While the month off was incredibly relaxing and badly needed I have come back to realize that I live and operate in a fundraising bubble.

What made me realize this was just how unexposed I was to fundraising/charity stuff while I was off. And I didn’t not read papers or watch TV, I did. I would still look out for and pay attention to the word fundraising and whenever I heard it I would stop to pay attention, mostly in case there was a great idea I could adapt! But I rarely heard it. Haiti was of course everywhere, and probably rightly so as it is one of the worlds worst natural disasters. But at the same time it shouldn’t stop other causes and charities being able to make noise. If your need is big enough you should be able to make noise above the Haiti campaign (Maybe there is another post in there somewhere).

When we are immersed in our campaigns and appeals it is all consuming to us, but out in the real world that’s not the reality. I certainly think that we need to make our communications clearer so they stand out, any fundraising stuff I did see seemed to be quite wordy and cluttered. Whereas the best outdoor ad I saw was for Coopers Beer (I cant seem to find it on line) and it simply had a bottle of beer and the text underneath simply said …. “If its not in your local……move house”.  Genius.

Ok so maybe we don’t have the budgets of a brewery to get the creative and ensure the poster is on every bus shelter, but I suppose the question is why don’t we. A friend of mine who works for a massive telecoms company is always amazed when I tell him we spent a budget of 2k on a national campaign, he will say to me….how do you expect to get anyone to become aware of what you are doing, how do you expect to make a return. In one sense it makes us become clever in our communications, but I also think it makes us become panicy and we try to say everything in one small space, even our press releases are messy!

So as I enter back into the fundraising bubble I hope I can remember how little I heard when I was outside of it and think of ways to make more effective noise around our campaigns, fight for bigger budgets maybe (oh the risk!) and remember that everyone doesn’t eat, drink and sleep my cause!