Charities often forget to say a proper thank you to donors

Date: 02 Mar 2016

Bumblebee Design

Debra Allcock-Tyler, CEO, Directory of Social Change says of fundraising: “money matters, but it is the mechanism by which our work is achieved, not the driver.”  

What are the basics that need to be in place to run a charity well?

Always remembering that your job is about your beneficiaries, they are the primary driver of your work so in order to achieve that you need:

·       A clear vision

·       A deep understanding of your beneficiaries

·       A strong supporter base who you look after well – whether that’s donors or volunteers

·       A Board of Trustees who are committed to the charity and understand the critical differences between sitting on the board of a charity and that of a company.  They’re not the same and require different approaches.


What are your tips for leadership success?

Listen, listen, listen.

Do you review your services for effectiveness, if so, how often and what methods are used?

We have many measures for our effectiveness but the most valuable one is how many of our beneficiaries continue to use our services. 

Is fundraising the biggest issue?

No.  Money matters, but it is the mechanism by which our work is achieved – not the driver.  For most charities, in particular those that are small and local, willing hearts and hands are often as useful, if not more so, than cash.

What mistakes are made by charities that could easily be rectified?

Thinking that it’s about the money.  Forgetting the purpose of our work which is to achieve our charitable objects in service of our beneficiaries.  And not saying proper thank you’s to donors.

Which matters most? A good brand, creating impact with your charities work or ethics?

What matters most is making sure that you are delivering your charitable objects. Brand and ethics are mechanisms to help you deliver them.

What charity CEO’s do you admire?

All of them, it’s a tough job.  But the ones I admire the most are the CEOs of small charities who have to be an expert in everything from strategic planning, fundraising, campaigning, finance, charity law, employment law, health and safety law,  how the Local Authority works…and plumbing.  In any 24 hours the CEO of a small charity will go from a meeting with the Lead Councillor on Children’s Services to a review meeting with volunteers to finalising the year end accounts to getting on their hands and knees with a plunger to unblock the toilet.


Citywealth top ten charity CEO’s 2016

Chosen for their gravitas, impact, leadership, fiscal competence, brand and ethics.

Paul Breckell, CEO, Action on Hearing Loss

Henny Braund, CEO, Anthony Nolan

Claire Horton, CEO, Battersea Cats and Dogs

Gillian Guy, CEO, Citizens’ Advice

Rob Williamson, CEO, Community Foundation, Tyne and Wear 

Debra Allcock Tyler, CEO, DSC -Directory of Social Change

Petra Ingram, CEO, The Brooke

Robert Robson, CEO, The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity

Simon Hopkins, CEO, Turn2us

David Nussbaum, CEO, WWF UK

Also recommended…

Paul Farmer, CEO, Mind